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Filed 11 June 1 P4:48

Chris Daniel - District Clerk


2011-32912 / Court: 129 Harris County
ED101J016338059
By: Sharon Carlton
CAUSE NO. _________

RICHARD C. KING § IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF


§
Plaintiff, §
VS. §
§
PATTI LABELLE a/k/a PATRICIA §
EDWARDS; ZURI KYE EDWARDS; § HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS
EFREN HOLMES; JANE DOE; §
SHAUQUETHA L. BOYD MAYS; §
GEORGE H. W. BUSH INTERNATIONAL §
AIRPORT §
§
Defendants. § JUDICIAL DISTRICT

PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL PETITION

TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT:

Plaintiff Richard C. King (“Plaintiff” or “King”) complains of the actions of

Defendants Patti LaBelle a/k/a Patricia Edwards (“LaBelle”); Zuri Kye Edwards

(“Edwards”); Efren Holmes (“Holmes”); Jane Doe (“Doe”), Shauquetha L. Boyd Mays

(“Mays”), and the George H. W. Bush International Airport (“Airport”) (collectively

“Defendants”) and would respectfully show the Court as follows:

DISCOVERY LEVEL

1.1 Discovery in this case should be conducted under Discovery Control

Plan Level 3 in accordance with Rule 190.4 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

THE PARTIES

2.1 Plaintiff Richard C. King is a resident of the State of Texas.

2.2 Defendant LaBelle is a professional performer who employs security

personnel and engages agents to act under her direction and control. As described

more fully below, defendant La Belle’s security guards are – with her complete
consent and approval – violent, paid thugs who have no qualms about assaulting

innocent people who happen to be standing too close to Defendant LaBelle. As a

result, Defendant LaBelle is fully responsible not only for her own actions, but for the

actions of her security force under the doctrine of respondeat superior and/or

vicarious liability. Defendant LaBelle conducts business in Texas, but has no regular place

of business or designated agent for service of process in Texas. Pursuant to Tex.Civ.Prac.&

Rem.Code § 17.044(b), Defendant LaBelle may be served with process by serving her agent, the

Texas Secretary of State, 1019 Brazos Street, Austin, TX 78701. The Secretary of State, upon

being served with duplicate copies of the citation and petition in this cause, shall forward a copy

of the citation and petition to Defendant LaBelle, through her agent Pattonium, Inc., at its

physical address of 1212 Grenox Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096, and/or its mailing address of

Post Office Box 506, Wynnewood, PA 19096.

2.3 Defendant Edwards, on information and belief the son of Defendant

LaBelle, was hired by and contracted with Patti LaBelle to provide and implement security for

Patti LaBelle on March 11, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Defendant Edwards acted as Ms.

LaBelle’s employee or agent under her complete direction and control when he

brutally attacked King. Further, Edwards, under the complete direction and control of

LaBelle, worked with and supervised the violent thugs who joined with him in the

assault on King. Defendant Edwards conducts business in Texas but has no regular place

of business or designated agent for service of process in Texas. Pursuant to Tex.Civ.Prac.&

Rem.Code § 17.044(b), Defendant Edwards may be served with process by serving his agent, the

Texas Secretary of State, 1019 Brazos Street, Austin, TX 78701. The Secretary of State, upon

being served with duplicate copies of the citation and petition in this cause, shall forward a copy

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of the citation and petition to Defendant Edwards, at his residence, 916 Latimer Street,

Philadelphia, PA 19107.

2.4 Defendant Holmes was hired by and contracted with Patti LaBelle to provide and

implement security for Patti LaBelle on March 11, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Defendant Holmes

acted as Ms. LaBelle’s employee or agent under her complete direction and control

when he brutally attacked King. Defendant Holmes conducts business in Texas but has

no regular place of business or designated agent for service of process in Texas. Pursuant to

Tex.Civ.Prac.& Rem.Code § 17.044(b), Defendant Holmes may be served with process by

serving his agent, the Texas Secretary of State, 1019 Brazos Street, Austin, Texas 78701. The

Secretary of State, upon being served with duplicate copies of the citation and petition in this

cause, shall forward a copy of the citation and petition to Defendant Holmes, at his residence,

302 Monroe Drive, Harleys, PA 19438.

2.5 Defendant Doe was hired by and contracted with Patti LaBelle to provide and

implement security for Patti LaBelle on March 11, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Defendant Doe

acted as Ms. LaBelle’s employee or agent under her complete direction and control

when she brutally attacked King. Defendant Doe is unknown to King; therefore, he files this

petition against this Defendant under such fictitious name. King will ask leave of court to amend

this Petition and insert Jane Doe's true name in place of the fictitious name when the same has

become known to King.

2.6 Defendant Mays is a taxi dispatcher employed by George H.W. Bush

Intercontinental Airport. Defendant Mays is an individual residing in Harris County, Texas, and

may be served with process at her residence: 2302 West Tidwell #3804, Houston, TX 77091.

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2.7 Defendant George H. W. Bush International Airport (“Airport”), a Governmental

Entity, may be served with process by serving Mario C. Diaz, Director of the City of Houston

Department of Aviation, or Mary Case, General Manager for George H.W. Bush Intercontinental

Airport, at 16930 JFK Blvd., Houston, Texas 77032.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

3.1 This Court has jurisdiction over the Defendants because Defendants do

business in Texas, because Defendants participated in and/or share responsibility for

the brutal and vicious assault on King which occurred in Harris County Texas, and

because the damages far exceed the jurisdictional requirements of the Court.

3.2 Venue is proper in Harris County, Texas, because the violent acts and

careless omissions giving rise to Plaintiff’s claims in this lawsuit occurred in Harris

County, Texas.

BACKGROUND

4.0 King incorporates, by reference, the preceding paragraphs as if fully set forth

herein.

4.1 Richard King is a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point

(“West Point”). Upon graduation, King will be commissioned as an officer in the United States

Army with the rank of Second Lieutenant. He is honored to serve his country.

4.2 On Friday, March 11, 2011, King completed classes, duties and drills at West

Point and was released for the Spring Break holidays. He was looking forward to spending his

Spring Break with his family in his hometown of Houston, Texas. He boarded a Continental

Airlines flight, departing from Newark, New Jersey, and arriving at George H.W. Bush

Intercontinental Airport (“IAH”) in Houston, Texas. After arriving at IAH, King proceeded to

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the passenger pickup area to look for his father and his brother who were coming to pick him up.

He made a call on his cell phone to his brother.

4.3 Defendant LaBelle was scheduled to perform the next day (Saturday, March 12)

in Lake Charles, Louisiana, at L’auberge Du Lac hotel and casino. Defendant LaBelle arrived at

IAH shortly after King with a private security force of very large bodyguards under her

immediate control and supervision. This security force included Defendants Edwards, Holmes

and Doe, and perhaps others. Defendants LaBelle, Edwards, and Holmes had ground

transportation including a stretch limousine and a Chevy Suburban waiting for them at the

passenger pickup area of IAH terminal C.

4.4 King stood near the passenger crosswalk of the pickup area waiting for his father

and brother. He was in a completely public area, minding his own business. Defendant LaBelle

came out of the airport with her entourage of paid thugs, walked past where King was standing,

and entered her stretch limousine. She had a substantial amount of luggage, which was rolled by

her retinue in two carts. King said nothing to her. He had his back to her vehicle much of the

time, focusing on his telephone conversation. Apparently, Defendant LaBelle believed King was

standing too close to her (no doubt expensive) luggage, even though he was oblivious to her

presence and the danger he was in. LaBelle lowered the window of her limousine and gave a

command to her body guards. They sprang into action. Defendants Edwards and Holmes, who

are much taller and heavier than King, pounced on him. First they shoved King back violently.

He still had his telephone in his hand, trying to have a conversation. They pounced forward and

swung their fists at his face. He tried but was unable to block their punches. His head snapped

back as he tried to back away from his assailants. At no time – ever – did King try to strike the

Defendants, who lunged into him again, this time accompanied by Jane Doe, swinging and

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punching King in the face and body and knocking him backwards, eventually driving the back of

his head into a concrete-and-stone pillar. His blood splattered the concrete and his clothes, then

pooled beneath him as he lay helpless on his back with a severe concussion. Defendant

LaBelle’s ruffians stood over him awhile, taunting him, then strutted away. At no time – ever –

did Defendant LaBelle try to stop her personally hired hoodlums from attacking King. She

watched the vicious assault, with approval, from her limousine.

4.5 There can never be any justification for the savage battery of King by Defendants

Edwards, Holmes and Doe. Defendant LaBelle is hot-tempered herself, and has a reputation for

both inciting and participating in acts of violence in public. She was a full participant in the

cruel attack on King. She ordered it, and never tried to stop it. Defendant LaBelle did not

emerge from her limousine until after King was being taken away by ambulance. By that time,

the Houston Police had arrived. Apparently deciding that a little bit of public relations was in

order, Defendant LaBelle stepped out of her limousine and smiled for photographs with Houston

Police officers, standing triumphantly over the pooled blood of King.

4.6 As a result of the actions of Defendant LaBelle, her employees and agents,

including Defendants Edwards, Holmes and Doe, King suffered a severe head injury, blood loss,

and deep lacerations and contusions over his body.

4.7 As a direct and proximate result of the intentional conduct, or in the alternative,

negligent and grossly negligent conduct, of Defendant LaBelle and those under her direct control

and supervision, including Defendants Edwards, Holmes and Doe, King was injured in and about

his body and extremities, and sustained the following damages:

(a) Severe bodily injury;

(b) Pain and suffering;

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(c) Disability;

(d) Scarring and disfigurement;

(e) Mental anguish; and

(f) Medical and related expenses.

4.8 As a direct and proximate result of the intentional conduct, or, in the alternative

negligent and grossly negligent conduct, of Defendants LaBelle, Edwards, Holmes and Doe,

King was required to employ physicians and other health care professionals to provide medical

treatment and diagnostic testing for King and treat King for the injuries sustained as a result of

the assault. It will likely be necessary for King to incur additional medical expenses.

4.9 At all times relevant herein, Defendant LaBelle’s security guards and agents were

acting in furtherance of their employment, agency and servant relationship with Defendant

LaBelle, and therefore Defendant LaBelle was responsible at all relevant times for the actions of

the members of her security guards and agents under the doctrine of respondeat superior and/or

vicarious liability.

4.10 To literally add insult to injury, Defendants intentionally provided false

statements to the investigating police officers that arrived after their attack upon King. When

questioned by the Houston police officers, Defendants lied and conveyed defamatory

information about King. They said, among other things, that King assaulted and battered

Defendants Edwards (perhaps injuring Edwards’ fists with King’s face) and that King even

assaulted Defendant LaBelle. The Houston police officers conveyed this false and defamatory

information to King’s superiors at West Point. The amount of detriment to his military career

caused by these false statements is still at issue.

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CAUSES OF ACTION

COUNT I
ASSUALT & BATTERY

5.0 King incorporates, by reference, the preceding paragraphs as if fully set forth

herein.

5.1 Defendant Edwards, Holmes, and Doe intentionally, knowingly, and maliciously

attacked Richard King at George H. W. Bush Intercontinental Airport. The injuries suffered by

King were inflicted while he was presenting no threat to anyone.

5.2 Defendants Edwards, Holmes and Doe acted under the direction and control of

Defendant LaBelle, and in the course and scope of their employment and/or agency by Patti

LaBelle. Therefore, Defendant LaBelle is personally liable and vicariously liable under the

doctrines of actual authority, apparent authority, respondeat superior, ratification, and non-

delegable duty.

5.3 As a direct and proximate result of the willful, wanton, malicious and intentional

actions of Defendant LaBelle and those of her employees and agents, King suffered severe

bodily injuries, mental anguish, humiliation and embarrassment.

COUNT II
INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

6.0 King incorporates, by reference, the preceding paragraphs as if fully set forth

herein.

6.1 Defendants LaBelle, Edwards, Holmes and Doe intentionally and/or recklessly

caused severe emotional distress to King by their willful, wanton, extremely reckless and

indifferent conduct, including but not limited to engaging in a senseless physical attack upon the

person of King which directly led to his severe bodily injuries.

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6.2 Defendants Edwards, Holmes and Doe acted under the direction and control of

Defendant LaBelle, and in the course and scope of their employment and/or agency by

Defendant LaBelle. Defendant LaBelle is vicariously liable under the doctrines of actual

authority, apparent authority, respondeat superior, ratification, and non-delegable duty.

6.3 The actions of Defendant LaBelle, Edwards, Holmes and Doe go well beyond all

bounds of decency and were done with the purpose of inflicting emotional distress and fear.

6.4 That the aforesaid actions by Defendants LaBelle, Edwards, Holmes and Doe

were so outrageous in character and were so extreme in degree that a reasonable member of the

community would regards such conduct as atrocious, going beyond all possible bounds of

decency and as being utterly intolerable in a civilized community.

6.5 As a directed and proximate result of the Defendants LaBelle, Edwards, Holmes

and Doe extremely, reckless and indifferent conduct, King suffered severe pain, emotional

distress, mental anguish and physical injuries as the result of being beaten.

COUNT III
NEGLIGENCE, AND NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

7.0 King incorporates, by reference, the preceding paragraphs as if fully set forth

herein.

7.1 Defendant LaBelle caused bodily injuries and severe emotional distress to King

by her negligent and grossly negligent actions, including but not limited to instructing and/or

allowing her employees and agents to engage in a senseless physical attack upon the person of

King which directly led to severe injuries.

7.2 As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ grossly negligent, reckless

and indifferent conduct, King suffered severe pain, emotional distress, mental anguish and

serious physical injuries as the result of being savagely beaten.

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COUNT V
DEFAMATION (LIBEL AND SLANDER)

8.0 King incorporates, by reference, the preceding paragraphs as if fully set forth

herein.

8.1 Following the attack upon King, Defendants, knowingly provided false and

defamatory witness statements to the investigating police officers at the scene of the attack.

8.2 The false and defamatory statements of Defendants were forwarded by the

investigating Houston police officers to Plaintiff’s supervisors at West Point. Plaintiff’s

supervisors at West Point relied upon the false and disparaging statements of the aforesaid

Defendants to discipline Plaintiff, to the detriment of his career. To date, the full amount of

discipline is not yet fully determined.

8.3 Defendants acted with malice or extreme negligence by falsely and defamatorily

stating that King assaulted and battered them, rather than the other way around. The statements

of Defendants are per se defamatory because they falsely accused King of a crime (assault and

battery). Therefore, Defendants should be held strictly liable.

COUNT VI
PREMISES LIABILITY

9.0 King incorporates, by reference, the preceding paragraphs as if fully set forth

herein.

9.1 The Airport had a duty to exercise reasonable care and diligence in the

management of the George H.W. Bush Intercontinental Airport premises to protect King from

risks of harm or criminal acts of other persons. The Airport failed to provide a reasonably safe

environment or adequate security to protect King from the acts of defendants LaBelle, Edwards,

Holmes, and Doe. In the attack upon King, no security was available to, or, in the alternative,

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ever attempted to stop assailants Edwards, Holmes, and Doe from brutally attacking King. The

Airport’s lack of adequate security was a proximate cause of King’s injuries.

DAMAGES

10.0 As a result of the Defendants’ acts and misconduct, King has sustained damages

far exceeding the minimum jurisdictional limits of this court.

CONDITIONS PRECEDENT

11.0 All conditions precedent to King’s claims for relief have been performed or have

occurred.

JURY DEMAND

12.0 King requests a jury trial on the issues in this case, and tenders the appropriate fee

with this petition.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Richard King asks that the court issue citation for defendants to

appear and answer, and that upon final hearing in this case, he be awarded judgment against the

defendants, jointly and severally, for the following:

a. actual damages;

b. attorneys fees and expenses incurred by him;

c. punitive damages;

d. prejudgment and post-judgment interest;

e. court costs; and

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f. all other relief in law or in equity to which he is entitled

Dated: June 1, 2011. Respectfully Submitted,

RALEY & BOWICK LLP

/s/ John W. Raley


JOHN W. RALEY
Texas State Bar No. 16488400
ROBERT M. BOWICK
Texas State Bar No. 24029932
1800 Augusta Dr., Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
Telephone: (713) 429 - 8050
Facsimile: (713) 429 - 8045
Email: jraley@raleybowick.com
rbowick@raleybowick.com

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF


RICHARD C. KING

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