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Tufano family planning civil lawsuits against Bush and Guyer



The family of Anthony Tufano, the victim in the Matt Bush DUI hit-and-run accident, plans to file a civil lawsuit against both Bush and Rays minor league outfielder Brandon Guyer, whose Dodge Durango was used in the crash.


Richard Hirsch, the Tufano family's Tampa-based attorney, said hospital bills will be in the "hundreds of thousands," and they consider Bush and Guyer, among others responsible. Tufano is in critical condition at a Fort Myers hospital with several serious injuries caused Thursday when police said Bush fled the scene after hitting Tufano's motorcycle with Guyer's SUV. Tufano was put in an induced coma Monday, using breathing and feeding tubes, but is resting comfortably today, daughter-in-law Shannon Moore said.

"It's pretty clear to us from some of the comments being made that everyone is attempting to walk away from this situation and from any legal responsibility," Hirsch said. "Frankly, we're not going to let that happen...If you accept what everyone, Mr. Bush, Mr. Guyer, the Rays, what they're saying is that it’s a tragedy, but none of us bear any responsibility.. I've been doing this too long to let that happen, I want to make sure that the message has gotten across loud and clear."

Bush is in Charlotte County Jail facing seven charges, with a bail set for $1.015 million. Though Bush received a $3.15 million signing bonus from the Padres as the 2004 top overall pick, his attorney, Russell Kirshy, told the court the pitcher could be classified as "indigent," with just $2,000 in his bank account. Guyer, Bush's roommate in Port Charlotte, allowed Bush to use his SUV to drive him to the team facility Thursday afternoon, but had no knowledge of Bush's suspended license, and didn't give him permission to use the vehicle after, Guyer's agent, Jamie Appel said.

But Hirsch said that under Florida law, if Guyer gave him permission to drive it at all, it falls under "implied consent" even if Bush drove the car outside of Guyer's direct wishes. Hirsch said the state's "dangerous instrumentality" doctrine imposes strict vicarious liability to vehicle owners when a non-owner negligently causes injury.

Hirsch said they are doing their own independent investigation and are a few weeks away from the filing of the lawsuits. They're also looking into potential responsibility of the bar that served Bush alcohol, as well as what role the Rays played in this situation.

"Our hope is that Mr. Bush and Mr. Guyer would be responsible for the damages they've caused," Hirsch said. "And I don't doubt the sincerity of the Rays expressing remorse, I don't doubt for one minute Mr. (Rays executive VP Andrew) Friedman's sincere remorse. But there are responsibilities of athletic teams under certain circumstances - was it foreseeable that this would happen? That's really the issue."

[Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:40am]


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