Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is seeking a settlement of $9.9 million from the Seminole Indian tribe over injuries he suffered in a 2012 fall from a stage at the tribe's South Florida casino.
Attorney Jack Hickey said Monday that Robinson will sue unless a settlement is reached. The case is complicated by the tribe's lawsuit immunity protections, which generally limit damages to $200,000 for an individual who suffers an injury at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.
Robinson, 76, was attending a charity event at the casino for the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital when he fell off about 12 feet off a stage that had no back railing. Hickey said the Baltimore Orioles great suffered head, back and shoulder injuries that have forced him to undergo physical therapy and required that he limit numerous paid and charity appearances, celebrity golf tournaments, baseball fantasy camps, exercise and travel.
"He has made a good recovery for the injuries he had," Hickey said. "But he's not the same."
Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner said the 2010 compact between the tribe and the state of Florida included the liability limits, which are similar to those Florida cities have for lawsuits filed against them. A higher settlement could still be negotiated, but Bitner said he couldn't comment specifically about the Robinson case.
"The compact does apply here, as it would for anyone who comes into the complex," Bitner said.
Hickey said the tribe was negligent in failing to provide railing around the stage, which was also a violation of local building codes. About an hour before Robinson's accident another man had fallen off the back of the same stage, yet no changes were made, the attorney said.
If the tribe refuses to settle, Hickey said he will sue the Seminoles in federal court by the end of this year.
"We're going to fight their tribal immunity in court," he said.
Robinson was an 18-time All-Star third baseman for the Orioles. Known for his defensive prowess, he won 16 Gold Glove awards and amassed more than 2,800 hits. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983, was the American League Most Valuable Player in 1964 and was named the World Series MVP in 1970.
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