The Detroit Red Wings' massage therapist who was paralyzed on his left side following a limousine crash last year has filed a lawsuit against the driver and owner of the limousine service.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Oakland County Circuit Court on behalf of The Detroi of Grosse Pointe Woods. It seeks damages of at least $25,000 from Gambino's Westside Limousine of Belleville and driver Richard Gnida of Westland, The Oakland Press reported Friday.
A similar lawsuit was filed June 15 in Oakland County Circuit Court by Red Wings defenseman Vyacheslav Fetisov and his wife Ladlena. That suit seeks unspecified damages from Gambino Limousine, Gnida and company owner John Gambino.
Gnida was driving Mnatsakanov, Fetisov and defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov back from a golf outing June 13, 1997, six days after the Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 42 years, when the limousine ran off a road and struck a tree in Birmingham.
Mnatsakanov is paralyzed on his left side and restricted to a wheelchair. Konstantinov is recovering from severe head injuries. Fetisov sustained lesser injuries and was able to play this past season, when the Red Wings won a second consecutive Stanley Cup.
Gnida, 28, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended license. He was released June 19 from an Oakland County work camp after serving seven months of a nine-month sentence.
Messages left Friday at the office of Gnida's lawyer, James O'Connell of Highland Park, were not returned. Calls to the office of Gambino Limousine attorney Cynthia Gillard of Elkhart, Ind., were not answered.
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