Family files suit in Nick Bollea crash

Debra Graziano, mom of John Graziano, right, sits next to attorney George Tragos. In background are attorney Kimberly Kohn and Edward Graziano, John's dad. Inset: John Graziano.

Jim Damaske | Times

Debra Graziano, mom of John Graziano, right, sits next to attorney George Tragos. In background are attorney Kimberly Kohn and Edward Graziano, John's dad. Inset: John Graziano.

CLEARWATER -- Attorneys for John Graziano, the passenger who was critically injured during Nick Bollea's car crash, filed suit today against three members of the Bollea family and one friend.

The suit, filed in Pinellas County Circuit Court, alleges that each of the defendants -- Terry Bollea, a.k.a. Hulk Hogan, Linda Bollea, Nick Bollea and Daniel Jacobs -- were negligent in the acts leading up to Graziano's injury last summer.

The suit will seek damages in the millions, said attorney George Tragos, but the exact amount is not known because it remains unclear how expensive Graziano's care will be. Tragos said the former Marine's medical bills already exceed $1 million.

The crash left Graziano, an Iraq war veteran, in critical condition.

Lawyers today said that a portion of Graziano's frontal lobe had to be removed because of the crash. He is in a "semi-conscious" state and responds to certain stimuli like heat and touch, lawyers said.

The proceeds from the suit would go into a trust for Graziano's longterm care.

The crash occurred Aug. 26 when Bollea lost control of his yellow Toyota Supra and slammed into a tree on Court Street in Clearwater. Clearwater police determined Bollea was racing with a silver Dodge Viper driven by Daniel Jacobs.

Both the Supra and the Viper were owned by Terry Bollea and the first three counts of the suit are directed at him, claiming he is liable as the owner of the two car, as a parent who signed a driver's license application for a minor child, who legally assumed responsibility for the minor's driving, as someone who knew the propensity of his son and Daniel Jacobs to race and drive recklessly.

The suit goes on to say that Linda Bollea knew of her son's reckless driving and even encouraged his dangerous behavior.

Nick Bollea is liable, the suit says, for speeding, racing and consuming alcohol as an underage minor.

Daniel Jacobs, a friend of Nick's, is named in the suit as being liable for light-to-light racing. It was unclear what assets Jacobs had, but the Bollea fortune is thought to be in the millions.

Kimberly Kohn, the other attorney representing Graziano, said the suit would help to determine the amount of the Bollea assets.

Terry and Linda Bollea have initiated a divorce and Kohn was concerned that it might be a way to draw diminish the assets that could be recovered from a suit.

The lawsuit will allow them to get the records faster and nail down exactly how much the Bollea family has, she said.

Family files suit in Nick Bollea crash 03/24/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 6:42pm]

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