Reggae star sues Va groups after bottle injury

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Grammy winning reggae musician Frederick “Toots” Hibbert is suing several organizations after he was struck in the head by a tossed vodka bottle during a May concert in Richmond.

Hibbert filed the $20 million lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court against Venture Richmond, Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers Inc. and the companies that provided security and concessions for the concert.

Hibbert, the leader of Toots & the Maytals, was struck while he performed on Brown’s Island in the James River. After suffering a deep head cut, Hibbert canceled the remaining stops on his tour.

Now back in Jamaica, Hibbert can’t remember the words to his songs and cannot write new songs due to the injuries he sustained, attorney Mark Sandground told WWBT-TV (

“They had a duty to act appropriately, reasonably and they didn’t do it,” Sandground said. “That’s what you call negligent and a violation of the standard of care.”

William Connor Lewis, 19, was charged with malicious wounding for throwing the bottle. Hibbert filed a $21 million lawsuit against Lewis in June.

The lawsuit against the groups, filed Aug. 16, claims they failed to provide adequate security at the concert and failed to prevent Lewis from either carrying the vodka bottle into the concert or securing bottles of alcoholic beverages sold during the event.

Venture Richmond, which manages events on Brown’s Island for the city, objected on Monday, telling the Richmond Times-Dispatch ( it believes the bottle was stolen from a vendor that was shutting down sales for the night.

“There is no way that Venture Richmond or Sportsbackers could reasonably have anticipated this random act by a teenage spectator,” Executive Director Jack Berry said. “He alone should be held responsible.”


Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch,

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