A newly filed lawsuit against Nashville Sports Leagues, who organizes kickball, softball, flag football, and other team sports games and tournaments across the city, is the second to allege alcohol and drunken players/referees contributed to serious injury of a player. The previous $250K lawsuit was settled out of court.
Joseph (Joe ‘Dino’) Villari, of Nashville, is suing Nashville Sports Leagues, claiming they allowed an underage, and heavily intoxicated, player to compete, resulting in an injury to Villari of a tibial fracture, fibular shaft fracture, a torn MCL & ACL, requiring surgery to repair within 2 days of the injuries, which occurred on September 20, 2018.
Villari, who was on team ‘Drunk and Looking to Score‘, played in a kickball game against the One Kick Wonders team, organized by Nashville Sports Leagues (NSL) in September of 2018. The game was played at Hadley Park, owned by Metro Nashville, which doesn’t allow alcoholic beverages at the park. According to Villari, several members of the opposing team arrived to Hadley Park together and were visibly intoxicated. He also alleges the referees, who are hired by NSL, also witnessed this, and were aware of players being intoxicated.
According to the league rules “All players must also present a photo ID at the park to verify their completion of the waiver and to make sure the name on a team roster corresponds to the individual participating in the league.” The suit alleges that neither the referees, nor anyone from NSL, checked the IDs of any of the players from the opposing team that day to make sure they were registered or over the age of 21.
Several members of the ‘One Kick Wonders’ continued to openly consume alcohol during the game, held at the Metro Park, according to the suit. This included several members taking turns taking “shots from a large bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey”, and while the team was batting, they are alleged to have placed the large bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey near 1st base. When a member of the team reached 1st base, the team member would then do a shot of whiskey from the bottle. Villari says this was out in the open, and the referees were aware of the open consumption of alcohol on the field, and team members of the ‘One Kick Wonders’ were excessively intoxicated during the game.
During the game, one of the team members of ‘One Kick Wonders’ loudly proclaimed “I am so drunk I can’t even see”, another fell over due to intoxication, while yet another vomited in left field due to excessive intoxication.
The substance of the lawsuit comes from a currently unknown, and unregistered, player for the ‘One Kick Wonders’ team, that was under the age of 21 at the time of the game. Villari says the ‘John Doe’ player was severely intoxicated, and that he complained to the referees about the behavior and intoxication of the opposing team during the game, but they did not intervene.
Near the end of the game, player ‘John Doe’ was batting for the ‘One Kick Wonders’ team, and Joe Villari was playing defense at 2nd base. ‘John Doe’ kicked the ball and headed toward 1st base, when he fell and stumbled into the base, nearly knocking over the player playing defense at 1st base. With ‘John doe’ on 1st base, the next batter kicked the ball into the outfield. The outfielder caught the ball and threw the ball to 2nd base, where Joe Villari caught the ball, creating a force out.
Despite being out, and the play being over, ‘John Doe’ continued to run to 2nd base, and attempted to dive into the base. He jumped, stumbled, and fell directly into Joe Villari’s leg, causing severe injury. After he fell into Villari, ‘John Doe’ stated he was drunk and underage, and wasn’t even registered to play in the game. He then quickly fled the field, and the game area.
Within 2 days of the injury, doctors performed surgery to correct the injuries to Villari’s leg, including a left lateral tibial plateau fracture, a left fibular shaft fracture, a torn MCL, a torn ACL, and multiple other fractures in and around his left leg and knee.
Joe Villari is suing Nashville Sports Leagues and ‘John doe’ for compensatory damages to include past and future healthcare and medical bills, lost wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, permanent injuries, scarring, and impairment, and more, for $1,000,000. The suit also seeks punitive damages, alleging reckless actions, and failure to act, in an amount up to $2,000,000.
A previous $250K lawsuit was settled out of court in 2016, from a Plaintiff that suffered a traumatic brain injury after she was tackled and thrown to the ground during a flag football game, while the referees were “far more interested in consuming beer on the sidelines of the field, than regulating the game in any meaningful way”.