Fan’s Close Encounter with Rick Rypien Unlikely to Produce Large Settlement

The story of the Minnesota Wild Fan who was grabbed by Vancouver Canucks’ player Rick Rypien during a game last week drew national attention.  The attention only increased when the fan, twenty-eight year-old James Engquist, made a statement containing a legal buzzword:

“I was assaulted, that’s just the bottom line.”

Engquist then sought an attorney.   Many fans have speculated that Engquist, now that he has “lawyered-up”, is poised for a big payday.

Engquist, however, shouldn’t count on a large monetary settlement.  If he files a civil lawsuit, he is likely to prove that he was assaulted (and battered).  But what about his damages?  Will Engquist be treated for physical injuries?  Will he seek treatment for any mental difficulties arising from the case?  If not, he may only be able to prove nominal damages. 

Accordingly, Engquist shouldn’t expect a large cash payout if he sues, or threatens to sue, Rypien, the Canucks or the NHL. 

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