Prosecutors allege the 47-year-old froyo entrepreneur beat Donald Bolding with a tire iron on June 15 near the Vermont Avenue offramp of the 101 freeway in southeast Hollywood.
Here's what happened, according to the suit, filed yesterday, and according to what what plaintiff's attorney Gary Casselman told the Weekly:
Lee was driving in a rented Range Rover with a female companion when he spied Bolding changing his shirt. Bolding has a tattoo on his belly of a man behind a woman, doggy style, but with no actual genitalia showing.
Casselman told us that the woman laughed, and Lee pulled over, got out of the car, and demanded an apology.
According to the suit:
Defendant, enraged against his unfortunate victim, demanded that plaintiff kneel and apologize, which the terrified plaintiff did ...
Defendant LEE then attacked plaintiff anyway, chasing him and kicking him, and beating him down with the tire iron.
Plaintiff suffered serious injuries as a result of the attack, including a broken arm, cuts in his arm and other physical injuries.
Lee's lawyer has said that Bolding had a weapon and had threatened him, leading to what was described as a defensive attack.
The suit claims that version of events isn't true. "Why get out of your vehicle and chase somebody down," Casselman says.
The attorney says Lee "fled" to Korea following the attack. He was arrested at LAX when he returned Jan. 16.
(Pinkberry noted at the time that he had not been with the company for years).
Lee faces a criminal case in connection with the confrontation. The prosecution alleges assault with a deadly weapon (the tire iron).
Why did the suit take so long? Casselman says:
If he's convicted of a criminal charge, then civil liability is more or less established.
The suit alleges assault, battery, negligence and even a civil rights violation. The potential cash damages were not specified.