This time, a $1 million lawsuit has been filed against him by the owner of an Atlanta recording studio who claims the comic threatened him with his dog in order to avoid paying a debt.
In the civil complaint filed Wednesday, Merion Joseph Powers seeks damages for assault, battery, false imprisonment, damage to property and intentional infliction of emotional distress, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He also wants compensation for the time Williams spent in his recording studio, which Powers said totals $28,600.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Fulton Superior Court, two alleged incidents as the basis for Powers’ claim — one at Powers’ recording studio last October and another a month later at a Midtown Atlanta hotel.
The AJC reports:
Williams and his bodyguards came to Powers’ studio early one morning last October for a scheduled appointment. Williams allegedly brought his dog, which was not described in the complaint.
While Williams was working inside, his dog was allowed to roam freely outside where Powers said his son also was walking their pet. “Williams walked outside and gave his dog a verbal attack signal, at which point Williams’ dog ran to and attacked Powers’ dog. Powers and his son had to pry Williams’ dog’s teeth off of Powers’ dog,” the complaint said.
Powers’ dog allegedly suffered “substantial and nearly life-threatening” injuries. Powers said the next month Williams invited him to the Four Seasons luxury hotel to discuss the debt and the dog attack.
Powers said he arrived and was directed to a chair in the middle of a room and surrounded by Williams’ bodyguards.
“Williams entered the room and immediately began insulting Powers, calling him a ‘punk’ and hurling expletives at him,” according to the complaint obtained by the AJC Friday. “Williams said he learned that Powers might press criminal charges against him for the dog attack and stated that he would kill him if he did file such charges. …
Williams’ attack dog was snarling directly in front of Powers, apparently waiting for the attack signal.” Powers said he asked to leave but Williams would not allow it.
“Williams explained that Powers must be living in a cave if he did not know what was about to happen and asked if he knew of anyone coming back from the dead,” according to the complaint.
About that time, hotel security knocked on the door and a few moments later Atlanta police officers arrived. Williams told the media at the time that he was kicked out of the Four Seasons, an incident that is also cited in Powers’ complaint. Williams complained to reporters that the city and the hotel were ungrateful for all he had done for the city. He also said he had recently bought a penthouse at the hotel and had also just rented seven rooms for a week.
“I haven’t been here 72 hours and I’m being kicked out of the Four Seasons even though I paid up front and in cash. I don’t understand,” Williams told a television reporter. “I’m standing out here with millions of dollars in movies and TV specials sold and most of them done right here in Atlanta. And to be ceremoniously dismissed at a hotel is sad.”
The complaint said Williams threatened Powers so he could avoid paying for the time in the recording studio and to “intimidate Powers into not pressing charges over the dog attack” the previous month.
The incident at the hotel came just a few days after Williams was released from the Coweta County Jail, where he was held on felony burglary and misdemeanor criminal trespass charges for allegedly breaking into a guest house on the estate where he was staying. Williams was accused of taking jewelry and other personal items. Those charges are pending.