The Phillie Phanatic is famous for pulling practical jokes at Citizens Bank Park, but a Pennsylvania woman claims his antics at Avalon’s Golden Inn Hotel & Resort left her permanently injured.
A lawsuit filed Monday claims the Philadelphia Phillies mascot threw Suzanne Peirce, of Abington, Pa., into the hotel’s pool in 2010 and left her with severe injuries.
Peirce’s attorney, Aaron Denker, said that Peirce hit the bottom of the pool’s shallow end and that today the 37-year-old woman walks with a cane because of that incident.
“She felt she wasn’t going to get any better — and, in fact, she’s getting worse,” Denker said, explaining why she filed the suit now.
Peirce suffered multiple “severe and permanent injuries” from the incident to nearly every part her body, from her head to her legs, including a herniated disk, internal injuries and mental anxiety, the suit states.
The complaint filed in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas seeks unspecified compensation for damages, the costs of bringing the suit and other relief.
Philadelphia Phillies spokeswoman Bonnie Clark said she could not comment on the pending litigation, except to say, “We don’t believe the Phanatic engaged in any wrongful behavior.”
The general manager at the Golden Inn could not be immediately reached for comment.
It is not clear who was wearing the bulky green suit at the time of the July 17 incident. The complaint names Phillies employees Tom Burgoyne, Matt Mehler and any other unknown worker employed as mascot.
The suit also names the Phillies organization and the Golden Inn as defendants.
The Phanatic is one of the most famous mascots in all of professional American sports, and he is cheered at games for the practical jokes he plays on umpires, opposing teams and sometimes fans. He also makes appearances at private events, and there is a undated picture on the Golden Inn’s website of him posing with a bride and groom.
Peirce was lounging at the pool the day before her sister’s wedding when the incident occurred, but Denker said the Phanatic was there for another event.
By allowing the Phanatic to engage in “intentional, willful, outrageous, reckless and wanton conduct,” the suit says the hotel and organization should also be liable for his actions.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the mascot has been sued several times in the past decade. In one case, he allegedly hugged someone too hard, and in another he sat on top of an arthritic woman’s legs and allegedly injured her.
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