Tufano's lawsuit against Bush and Guyer for $5 million each
The Tufano family has named both Rays pitcher Matt Bush and minor league outfielder Brandon Guyer in lawsuit in Charlotte County Court, seeking an excess of $5 million from each for damages, medical bills and future court costs.
The complaint was mailed today and should be filed by tommorrow in Charlotte County Court.
Bush is in Charlotte County Jail after getting arrested Mar. 22, when police said he hit the motorcycle of 72-year-old Tony Tufano and left the scene; police say Bush had a blood alcohol percentage of .180, more than double the legal limit. Bush is in jail on $1.015 million bond facing seven charges, and Tufano is in critical condition in a Fort Myers hospital, having suffered several serious injuries, including a collapsed lung and hemorrhaging of the brain.
Guyer was included in the suit because he owned the Dodge Durango that Bush was driving during the crash. Guyer, Bush's roommate in Port Charlotte, only allowed him to drop him off at the team's facility that day, and nothing else, Guyer's agent, Jamie Appel said, adding Guyer had no knowledge of Bush's suspended license. But the complaint says the direct result of Guyer's negligence, the expressed and/or implied consent, Tufano suffered these damages.
The suit says Tufano has suffered "severe and permanent" injuries, as well as mental and physical anguish; He's continued to incur hospital expenses and will in the future, as well as a "decreased joy of living" and his earning capacity temporarily or permanently impaired.
"Money is never going to make anybody whole," said Paul Sullivan, one of the Tufano family attorneys. "You're health is worth a lot more than money. But it's going to take a long, long time to get him back on his feet."
Sullivan said they've been doing their own investigation and anticipate adding more parties to the complaint in the future, including potentially a bar or the Rays.
"Was it foreseeable when the Rays gave Mr. Bush another opportunity in 2010? And did they monitor his actions appropriately?" said Richard Hirsch, one of the family's attorneys. "The Rays' position is that he had been rehabbed. They saw no evidence in 2011 or 2012 that he had a drinking problem? If those are the facts, those are the facts. If the facts are different, they may have some exposure."
Shannon Moore, Tufano's daughter-in-law, said there's been some slight improvement. Tufano is still in the intensive care unit, but could be moved to a halfway or transition room in the next couple days. He's been responsive and while he can't talk due to a tracheotomy, he's communicating with family members. Moore said that today, when Tufano's son, Tony, told him that his grandaughters, Coral, 19, and Willow, 14, were going to run a 5K in December, Tufano responded by pointing to his legs, indicating he wanted to participate with them.
"We'll see how it goes," Moore said. "But he's definitely optimistic."
-- JOE SMITH