Bad Boy Records mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs has been hit with yet another civil suit related to a shooting incident at a Manhattan nightclub last year.
Club New York owner Michael Bergos filed a $1.8 million suit against Combs on Wednesday, Combs' reps confirmed. In the action, Bergos claims that business at the spot suffered as a result of the publicity generated after three people were allegedly shot by rapper Jamal "Shyne" Barrow during a melee on December 27.
Bergos released a statement to MTV News in which he expounded upon the reasons for the lawsuit, asserting that "as a direct result of the incident, the club's reputation suffered. Consequently, we noticed a significant decline in tourist business and corporate sales.
"The target of a multitude of lawsuits, we find ourselves besieged with insurance and legal complications," Bergos' statement continued. "We have also become the focus of excessive negative attention from various government agencies."
The civil suit is the second one to be filed against Combs over the club shooting in less than a week. Wardel Fenderson, the man who drove Combs, girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, and bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones from the club that night, filed a $3 million suit against the Bad Boy CEO on October 4 (see "Driver Files $3 Million Suit Against Puffy, Bad Boy Records").
Completing the legal circle, Bergos' suit also names Bad Boy Entertainment, Fenderson, Barrow, and Jones as co-defendants.
The new suit marks a drastic shift in Bergos' attitude toward Combs since the shooting took place, as the Club New York proprietor originally said he bore no grudge toward Combs (see "Jennifer Lopez, Puff Daddy Questioned After New York Club Shooting").
"We're sorry the incident occurred," Bergos said at the time. "Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez have always been great
the club. They have never done anything wrong, and as far as we know, they didn't do anything wrong last night."
Aside from those civil suits, a bouncer at the club, Julius Jones, filed a separate $100 million legal action against Combs and most of the other parties involved in the matter, including Bad Boy, Club New York, Bergos, Fenderson, and Jones in January (see "Puff Daddy Hit With $100 Million Lawsuit By Club New York Bouncer").
Reached by MTV News on Thursday, publicists for Puffy issued their own statement to the press, noting that it was "unfortunate that a great many people are looking to unjustly capitalize on Mr. Combs' wealth and celebrity status in an attempt to falsely link him to an incident that everyone knows Mr. Combs had nothing to do with. Mr. Combs will respond to this latest groundless lawsuit as aggressively as he intends to defend all other
baseless charges that have arisen since the episode at Club New York."
The criminal case against Barrow, Combs, and Wolf is slated to begin on January 2, 2001. Barrow is facing charges of attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment, while Combs and Wolf both face lesser charges of weapons possession (see "Puffy, Shyne Given January 2001 Trial Date").