Unruly Chargers Fan Can’t Sue Guard

     (CN) – A security guard hired by the San Diego Chargers cannot be held liable for restraining an unruly fan at Qualcomm Stadium who was making obscene gestures during a football game, a federal judge ruled.
     Cameron Baker was an employee of Elite Show Services, which the Chargers had hired to provide security at their football games. During a game in 2009 Baker and his partner were told to check on a fan who was being disruptive.
     Baker found Jason Ensign, “who ‘was standing up on the stairway and was belligerently waving his middle finger in a “fuck you” gesture at other spectators[.]’ Mr. Ensign admits that he ingested alcohol prior to and during the football game,” according to the ruling.
     Baker asked Ensign to follow him into the hallways of the stadium to avoid obstructing other fans’ view of the game.
     “Mr. Ensign was not compliant. Instead, he ‘grabbed onto a handrail and shouted ‘Fuck you! I’m not going anywhere!’ At that point, Mr. Baker and two of his colleagues ‘tried to remove Mr. Ensign’s hands from the handrail.’ As Mr. Baker removed one hand, ‘Mr. Ensign pulled it away from [Mr. Baker’s] grip and punched [him] in the face,'” the ruling states.
     As Ensign continued to threaten and curse the security guards, they were able to restrain him. He was taken into custody by the San Diego Police Department.
     Baker sued Ensign for the injury he sustained from the punch.
     Ensign responded with a cross-complaint and third-party complaint against Baker, Elite Show Services, other Elite employees, the City of San Diego, and city officials. The city defendants removed the cross-complaint and third-party complaint to Federal Court.
     U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant ruled that Ensign cannot pursue any of his claims against Baker. She found that although Baker applied some force to Ensign, there is no evidence that he did so in an attempt to interfere with Ensign’s rights through violence or threat of violence.
     “Rather, in an effort to defuse an escalating hostile situation where Mr. Ensign was antagonizing other spectators using profanities and obscene gestures, Mr. Baker and his colleagues asked Mr. Ensign to follow them into the hallway according to their standard procedures. That was the initial point of contact. However, Mr. Ensign defiantly responded by directing profanities at the security officers, refusing to leave by latching on to a rail, and then punching Mr. Baker in the face,” Bashant wrote.
     Nor is there evidence to support a malicious prosecution claim against Baker, who provided evidence that he never threatened to file a lawsuit against Ensign if Ensign did not plead guilty to criminal charges and pay Baker $40,000 in damages.
     Baker’s jaw was injured when Ensign punched him. There is no evidence to suggest that the injury was fabricated so that Baker could sue Ensign.

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