MIAMI (AP) — A celebrity photographer sought to boost the potential damages he could win from Justin Bieber in a lawsuit that accuses the singer and a bodyguard of battery in a confrontation outside a recording studio.
The photographer's attorney, Mark DiCowden, said at a Tuesday hearing that he has documented at least 11 similar alleged assaults against photographers over two years involving Bieber and his security personnel. DiCowden said a punitive damage award for Jeffrey Binion could deter future assaults against celebrity photographers, known as "paparazzi."
"It's not a financial fishing expedition," DiCowden said in asking Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel to allow him to pursue unspecified punitive damages. "It is well known around the world that Justin Bieber does not like to be photographed in public."
Zabel did not immediately rule. Bieber attorney Jared Lopez said there is no evidence that Binion was physically harmed in the alleged attack in June — meaning compensatory damages for the photographer might be minimal — and no proof that Bieber himself told bodyguard Hugo Hesny to go after Binion.
"I don't tell security how to do their job," Bieber said in a March deposition in the case, according to Lopez.
Outside the courtroom, Bieber attorney Roy Black called the lawsuit "frivolous" and intended mainly to generate publicity. DiCowden denied that.