Attorneys for Tony Tufano began the process Tuesday of filing civil suits against Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguers Matt Bush and Brandon Guyer, seeking $5 million from each.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Bush was drunk March 22 while driving a sport utility vehicle that struck a motorcycle ridden by Tufano, 72, of Port Charlotte, and then leaving the scene. Bush, who had a suspended driver's license, faces seven charges, including DUI hit-and-run with bodily injury.
The SUV reportedly is owned by Guyer, who was not charged in the incident. Bush remains in the Charlotte County Jail with bail set at $1.015 million.
Tufano is no longer in a medically induced coma but remains in intensive care at Lee Memorial Hospital with fractures to his wrist and back and collapsed lung.
The incident took place in Port Charlotte, less than three miles from the Rays' spring training site.
"We decided to file the suits to use the formal powers of the court to do some investigating," said Paul Sullivan, who along Richard Hirsch, represents the Tufano family. "We're still trying to determine where (Bush) was drinking."
According to a Florida Highway Patrol's report, Bush's blood alcohol level was 0.18, more than double the legal limit in Florida.
When asked if they planned to file similar suits against the Rays, Sullivan said, "We can amend it in the future if we feel any other parties are liable."
Hirsch and Sullivan, attorneys with the firm Arnold D. Levine & Associates in Tampa, sent the formal letter Tuesday to the Charlotte County Circuit Court. The suits are expected be officially filed today.
"Our client is still in intensive care and has gigantic medical bills," Sullivan said. "We're just trying to get our facts together and see where the responsibility lies."