Bobby Knight, what a guy.

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Knight lawyer calls hunting suit 'bogus'.

By BRENT SCHROTENBOER, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

A new lawsuit's claims of negligence and other wrongdoing by Bob Knight in a 1999 hunting incident are a "bogus" attempt to embarrass the Texas Tech men's basketball coach after recent attempts to settle the case, Knight's attorney, Russell Yates, said Monday.

The suit, filed Monday, alleges Knight acted negligently and pressured his friend to lie about a shooting incident on a private ranch in Exeland, Wis., on Oct. 12, 1999.

Thomas Mikunda, the plaintiff, was hit in the back by 16 pellets from Knight's gun, causing to him to seek medical care and treatment for his wounds, which were not considered life-threatening.

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Knight.

The former Indiana basketball coach already has paid $582.10 in fines for two transgressions related to the incident: failing to immediately report the incident and hunting without a non-resident small game license in Wisconsin.

"It's a ridiculous lawsuit, and it's without merit," Yates said. "Every time we would reject these outrageous offers (to settle) and said that we don't think your suit has any merit, they'd lay low.

"After he got the job at Texas Tech, they started making them again, saying 'If you pay us, you won't be embarrassed by a lawsuit.' Coach does not respond well to threats like that, and neither do I," Yates said.

Mikunda's attorney, Bob Arns, said he was "shocked" at Yates' reaction.

Knight has declined comment.

"We would let the public decide whether Bobby Knight's shooting someone, shooting a hunting partner, is without merit," Arns said. "I'm not going to make any further comments until I've had a chance to talk to my client again and let him know what Knight's attorney said."

The suit claims Knight tried to avoid legal or professional problems by telling Mikunda to falsify details of the incident to Indiana University president Myles Brand.

The suit also states that Knight demanded Mikunda "lie to (Brand) and state that Knight did not need a hunting license to participate in the hunt, even though both Knight and Mikunda knew" he needed one.

Mikunda said he lied to Brand because he feared retribution from Knight.

Mikunda was hit by Knight's fire while he stood about 20 yards to the left and front of Knight during Knight's attempt to shoot a grouse, the lawsuit said. The action constituted an intentional disregard for the rights of Mikunda, according to the suit.

Yates said Knight voluntarily agreed to pay for Mikunda's medical expenses because "he felt bad about the accident." Knight told investigators his finger slipped off his gun's safety, causing him to fire before he was ready.

Yates said the medical expenses were approximately $800. Mikunda asked for a settlement in the "mid-six figures," according to Yates.

"This guy professes to be a really good friend of coach's and turns around and wants six figures out of him," Yates said. "It tells you what we're dealing with here. People like to get in line. I guess they figured he'd pay rather than wind up in another lawsuit. We don't operate that way."

Brent Schrotenboer can be reached at 766-8733 or at bschrotenboer@lubbockonline.com
 

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