Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey man suing Philles pitcher J.C. Romero over alleged assault

ST. PETERSBURG — The New Port Richey man who accused Philadelphia Phillies pitcher J.C. Romero of assaulting him after a game last summer at Tropicana Field is taking his fight to court.

Robert Eaton, a 26-year-old father of two, has filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County, alleging that the baseball player was negligent and caused him serious and permanent injury on June 25.

Eaton said he was trying to get autographs from Phillies players, who were brushing him off. Eaton said he called out to Romero something to the effect of, "How about you get me some juice?" The player snapped, Eaton said, and hit him in the neck, almost causing him to fall over.

Romero could not be reached for comment.

March 3 suit says Eaton is seeking a jury trial and judgement in excess of $15,000 — that's the threshold to have the case heard in circuit court.

"It happened, and it affected my life," Eaton said.

St. Petersburg police investigated Eaton's claims last summer and passed the case on to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors said they decided not to pursue battery charges against the Romero because of conflicting witness accounts.

Richard Ripplinger, who supervises misdemeanor cases for the prosecutor's office, said an investigator spoke to staffers at Tropicana Field, and others, and also watched a surveillance video shot from the upper deck that showed some sort of a "tussle" going on, but it was not conclusive, he said.

"We did investigation beyond what was in the police report," Ripplinger said. "We put quite a bit of investigative effort into it."

Eaton said the assault left him with three herniated disks in his neck. For the past several months, he's seen a doctor for physical therapy.

He also said the incident put a damper on his career plans.

Eaton, a licensed EMT, was planning to start firefighter school in August. But because of the injury, he wasn't able to enroll in classes.

"I couldn't pass the physical," he said. "I've had to put everything on hold."

Times staff writer Curtis Krueger contributed to this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected]com or (727) 893-8643.

New Port Richey man suing Philles pitcher J.C. Romero over alleged assault 03/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 10:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.

  2. Roosevelt Blvd closed at I-275 after truck hauling crane hits overpass

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A truck transporting a construction crane hit the Interstate 275 overpass at Roosevelt Boulevard Tuesday.

  3. Pasco students, 12 and 15, faces weapons, threat charges

    Crime

    Two Pasco County students from different schools were arrested Tuesday after one brought weapons onto campus and the other threatened a shooting, according to sheriff's deputies.

  4. It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier

    K12

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools will start an hour later next year, beginning the day at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 3:25 p.m., the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]