On Friday (September 17), a jury awarded $40,000 to the man who sued
The sum was awarded to Harlen Akins, who initially sought $6,000 in medical fees and an unspecified amount of punitive damages. Punitive damages were not awarded, but Akins will receive $40,000 in compensatory damages. Rock will not shoulder the entire amount and is only responsible for 15 percent. Guitarist Jason Krause will pay the majority of the sum, 70 percent, because he was found to have lobbed the first punch. Rock's personal assistant James Murphy will dole out 10 percent, and his executive assistant Brian Lang will pay 5 percent.
Rock (born Robert James Ritchie) and his crew were sued by Akins following a scuffle at an Atlanta-area Waffle House three years ago. The fight apparently broke out after Akins exchanged words with a woman accompanying Rock's entourage. The rocker testified Thursday that he never physically assaulted Akins but did rail at him. "I gave it to him verbally. I said, 'Shut your mouth, man,' " Rock said.
The star insisted Akins insulted the entourage member while Akins maintained that he was speaking to the woman about text messages and phone calls he received from her. "I still don't even know what did I say to him to start this jumping on me," Akins said in court. Both Rock and Akins have admitted to being intoxicated at the time of the incident.
Akins' lawyer said he and his client were pleased with the verdict. "We feel vindicated and we are very satisfied," Eric Hertz said.
Rock's lawyer insisted the case was all about securing a major windfall from the multiplatinum-selling rapper. "As far as we were concerned, it was just about money," said William Horton, who represented Rock and his entourage.
Rock was previously sentenced to a year of probation and fined $1,000 in 2008 for his involvement in the restaurant clash.