An Orange County man who said he was blinded in his right eye and suffered a broken nose when pink-shirted bounty hunters tried to arrest him in an Arby's in Huntington Beach sued the women and several bail bonds companies Tuesday.
Daniel Lee Duvall's lawsuit alleges that Lipstick Bail Bonds Inc. and several affiliated bail bond agents deprived him of his civil rights and are guilty of negligence, battery, false arrest and breach of contract. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Duvall had 101 Bail Bonds American Surety Co. bail him out of jail with a $100,000 bond in February. Duvall paid $1,000 and promised to pay the rest later, according to the lawsuit.
Duvall and a family friend intended to pay the balance when the friend got a financial settlement from an unrelated lawsuit, according to Duvall's attorney, Dan Gilleon.
Cathy Kessler, who lives in Orange County, was one of the pink-shirted Lipstick Bounty Hunters who also works for 101 Bail Bonds. She arranged to meet with Duvall at the Arby's at 7942 Edinger Ave. on March 18 to handle some paperwork, the lawsuit alleges.
Once there, Kessler, Roni Faciante and a few other women in pink shirts, including one toting a camera, tried to arrest Duvall, the lawsuit alleges.
"Duvall reasonably believed he was under assault and about to be battered by three unidentified, unprofessional and agitated women and a cameraperson, three of whom were wearing bright pink shirts, and two pointing what appeared to Duvall to be handguns at him in a public place where other Arby's patrons were also placed in immediate and severe danger," the lawsuit alleges.
The video, which was posted online, shows Duvall yelling and running away as he is shot with rubber balls.
"Despite the 'keystone cops' level of absurdity depicted in the video they created of themselves, the Lipstick defendants uploaded their epic failure to their youtube.com account, defaming Duvall and other innocent people in the process," the lawsuit alleges.
Gilleon believes the women were angling for a reality-TV show.
Duvall likely will need surgery on his right eye, Gilleon said.
Gilleon alleged the bounty hunters, who were hired because they would work "cheap" and also worked for the bond company, were not allowed to arrest anyone for failure to pay.
Duvall avoided the Lipstick bounty hunters for two weeks until he returned to court April 2 to get his bond exonerated and have another company post his bail, according to the lawsuit.
About five hours after a judge signed off on the new bail, the bounty hunters arrested Duvall again and "surrendered" him to jail, where he was held 16 hours before being released, the lawsuit alleges.
The women arrested Duvall because they "continued to hold feelings of ill will toward Duvall, and wanted to arrest him anyway, to punish him and exact revenge, and to attempt to save face over their sensational, public, and epic incompetence and failures of the previous two weeks," the lawsuit alleges.
Duvall was bailed out on two separate cases. One involved possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of drugs. The other was a misdemeanor case for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Duvall pleaded guilty to being on drugs and was sentenced to three years of informal probation and a drug rehab program. The felony case is pending, with Duvall due in court April 16.
Faciante said her company had not yet been served with the lawsuit and could not comment.
-- City News Service