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Man Sues Barkley For Punching Him During Bar Fight

July 12, 1996 GMT

CLEVELAND (AP) _ A New York man sued Charles Barkley on Friday, seeking $50,000 in damages from the NBA player and the bar where they got into a fight.

Jeb Tyler, 23, from Spencerport, N.Y., alleges in a civil suit that Barkley punched him several times in the face and head at a Cleveland dance bar early Sunday. Barkley was in town for a game with the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball Dream Team.

Barkley told police that Tyler made a lewd comment to a woman who was with Barkley and fellow Dream Team player Reggie Miller, and that Tyler attacked him.

Tyler contends he was permanently injured and will require further medical care. He also claims he lost pay because he was unable to do his job as a business equipment salesman.

The lawsuit seeks $25,000 in compensatory damages from Barkley and The Basement, the club where the fight took place. It also seeks at least $25,000 in punitive damages from Barkley, or an amount deemed appropriate by a jury.

Tyler said he decided not to seek criminal charges, partly because he did not want the legal system to interfere with Barkley’s participation in the Olympics.

``There are two factors,″ Tyler said. ``Him missing the Olympics and me being put in the media spotlight for him missing the Olympics.″

The civil suit, filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, alleges that punitive damages are necessary because Barkley has been in bar fights before, in Chicago and Milwaukee.

In an earlier interview, Tyler admitted that he was in a bar fight in college.

Tyler accuses The Basement of failing to protect patrons during the fight. The suit also claims that bouncers failed to restrain Barkley and kicked Tyler out of the club, but not Barkley.

An employee in the public relations office of Barkley’s NBA team, the Phoenix Suns, said she did not know if the player had received the lawsuit. She said no one was available to comment.

Barkley has said that Tyler’s accusations were motivated by money, and that he would not settle.