Pickering sued over fight last year

By SHELIA BYRD / The Associated Press

JACKSON (AP) — A year after former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering was involved in a fight with a youth soccer league coach, he faces a lawsuit.
The suit was filed Dec. 1 in Hinds County Court by Christopher Hester, who claimed Pickering stalked and physically attacked him in December 2009.
Hester’s suit claims he lost income and suffered permanent scarring and disfigurement as a result of the attack.
“We wanted to try and negotiate a settlement for Chip Pickering, but he didn’t want to pay for the medical bills. He hasn’t paid a dime,” Hester’s attorney, Rocky Wilkins, said Monday.
Attorney Mike Malouf, who represents Pickering, said his client never received any demands to cover medical expenses.
“If he had any legitimate medical bills, we would have helped with those. We offered to pay any medical bills not covered by insurance,” Malouf said. “We have no interest in just rewarding someone whom we felt was at fault in the incident.”
The suit seeks unspecified damages. Wilkins wouldn’t explain how Hester was permanently disfigured.
“I don’t want to get into specifics right now,” he said.
The incident occurred Dec. 6, 2009, after a soccer game for 10- and 11-year-old boys. Pickering’s son’s team was playing Hester’s team. At the time, Pickering and Hester had accused each other of simple assault, but they later agreed in Madison Municipal Court to have the complaints dismissed.
In his lawsuit, Hester alleged Pickering repeatedly grabbed, punched and threw him to the ground. At the time, Hester was wearing a neck brace for a previous medical condition.
Pickering “wanted to be role model in trying to resolve this and behind closed doors he takes the opposite approach,” Wilkins said Monday. “This has caused a hardship on Chris and his family.”
Malouf said Hester’s attorneys were likely exercising their option to file suit under a one-year deadline to make civil claims. Wilkins said some of the claims in the suit fell under that deadline, while others were under a three-year deadline.