Toronto Blue Jays prospect Kacy Clemens and fellow minor-leaguer Conner Capel have launched a civil lawsuit against a Houston bar, alleging they were assaulted by staff members shortly after arriving at the venue on New Year’s Eve.
According to a petition filed this week in Harris County district court, both men claim they suffered injuries at the Concrete Cowboy establishment and are seeking US$200,000 in damages.
"It’s not a money issue," lawyer Randy Sorrels said Thursday from Houston. "It’s a changing of the culture, closing it down. If these people offer to close their bar down, this case would be dismissed pretty quickly."
The petition claimed the bar "is notorious for its staff and bouncers’ aggressive, rude, and violent treatment of its patrons."
Clemens, a 24-year-old first baseman, split last season between the single-A Lansing Lugnuts and Dunedin Blue Jays.
Clemens hurt his right elbow and suffered swelling to his arm, Sorrels said, while Capel suffered a head injury along with cuts and bruises.
"There is concern that it could affect their careers, but we don’t know at this point in time," Sorrels said.
Police arrested one of the bouncers for assault and found no evidence that Clemens or Capel were intoxicated, the petition said.
Clemens was drafted by Toronto in the eighth round of the 2017 MLB June amateur draft from the University of Texas at Austin. Capel is a 21-year-old outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
According to the petition, after Clemens and Capel arrived at the venue, they were told to move away from the bar area by a bouncer.
Clemens and Capel complied, but the bouncer "suddenly and violently began attacking Capel and Clemens together in an attempt to throw them out of the bar," the petition said, before other staff members joined in.
Allegations in the petition have not been proven.
The venue’s voicemail was not accepting new messages and an email was not immediately returned.
Clemens’s father, Roger Clemens, played 24 seasons in the major leagues and was an 11-time all-star. He won the American League Cy Young Award on seven occasions, including both years he played in Toronto (1997, 98).
An email left with the Blue Jays’ media relations department was not immediately returned.
A formal response to the action was expected within 60 days, Sorrels said.