UPDATE 10/31/2017: Prosecutors dismissed an assault charge against Michael Oher in relation to the Uber driver case.
(ORIGINAL STORY 7-21-2017 FROM WKRN)
The Uber driver reportedly assaulted by Michael Oher this past April is now suing the football player for punitive and compensatory damages.
Girma Berkessa, who drives for Uber’s black car service, is demanding a 6-person jury to try his case against Oher, a former Tennessee Titan who is charged with misdemeanor assault in the case.
Berkessa says the assault left him injured and forced to undergo medical treatment and may need further treatment in the future. He’s asking for enough money to cover his “significant” medical expenses, both past and future, as well as lost wages, both past and future.
The complaint, filed by the driver on Wednesday, says he’s suing due to “interference with his normal living routine, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, and a depreciation of his ability to enjoy the riches of life.”
Berkessa asks for a 6-person jury to try the case and determine both compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of $250,000 each for a total of $500,000.
Oher, who was also the focus of a hit film “Blind Side,” is accused of pushing the Nashville man to the ground and kicking him in the leg on April 14 at a gas station on the corner of Eight Avenue South and Wedgewood.
Berkessa was Oher’s Uber driver at the time of the alleged assault when the two got into an argument after Oher reportedly thought Berkessa was driving a certain way to get more money.
WKRN obtained the driver’s call to 911 amid the incident. The highly-emotional call lasted 12 minutes as Berkessa relayed the situation to the dispatcher, who tried to keep him calm as he was audibly panicked and shaken up, at times crying as he waited for an officer to arrive.
At 59 seconds into the call, Berkessa is heard yelling as some kind of movement can be heard in the background. He then says to the dispatcher 6 seconds later, “I’m [being] attacked right now, ma’am! He just attacked me!”
Oher is due in a Nashville courtroom Friday morning for a hearing in the case.
Along with being sued Thursday, Oher was also terminated from the Carolina Panthers. The team said the “vested veteran/failed physical offensive tackle” started the first three games of the 2016 season before a concussion led to be inactive for the next seven.
Oher was placed on injured reserve, and head coach Ron Rivera said “the most important thing is his health.”
“Michael’s health always came first. We were not going to force the issue. Michael understood and we expressed that to him,” Rivera continued.
Oher played for the Tennessee Titans in 2014 to be released one year later after he struggled on the field and with former head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
WKRN spoke with his attorney, Bill Ramsey, Thursday night who confirmed he’s been served the lawsuit and will represent Oher in the civil matter.