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January 31, 2009

Baker's Dozen settle fight lawsuit

San Francisco Chronicle (CA)

A civil lawsuit over a New Year's 2007 fight between a group of San Francisco men and members of a Yale University singing group has been resolved with an undisclosed financial settlement and statements of apology, attorneys said today. The settlement in a lawsuit filed by Sharyar Aziz Jr., a member of the a cappella group the Baker's Dozen, was filed in San Francisco Superior Court Thursday. The terms of the financial settlement were confidential, attorneys said.

The attacks happened during an early morning fight, reportedly involving dozens of young men, outside a Richmond District house party, where the singing group had been invited, on Jan. 1, 2007. Aziz had his jaw broken after being kicked repeatedly outside the home.

There had reportedly been drinking at the party and a confrontation between members of the Yale group and locals, who later arrived at the party, soon spilled out onto the street.

The case drew national media attention after police did not make any arrests that night and reports that locals at the party mocked the singing group after they sang the national anthem at midnight. Aziz filed the civil lawsuit against brothers Richard, Michael and James Aicardi and Brian Dwyer.

"We're glad that the case has come to a resolution as to these defendants, and it's an opportunity to move forward," Whitney Leigh, Aziz's attorney, said today. "We're glad that there's been an acknowledgement of responsibility," Leigh said, referring to written statements of apology signed by lawyers for Dwyer and the Aicardis. "There's an express apology that reflects the seriousness of the case and what happened," he said.

"It has been a difficult and an emotional dispute for all parties," said the Aicardis' attorney Steven McDonald. "I understand why the Aziz family was upset, and it has taken a toll on everyone." McDonald said his clients were "relieved" to put the matter behind them.

A judge threw out the most serious charges in a separate criminal case against Dwyer and Richard Aicardi in April 2008, ruling there was not sufficient evidence they were responsible. One assault charge on Aicardi was reduced to a misdemeanor. "The criminal justice system failed," said Leigh, "but we've been able to attain some justice through civil litigation."

What a bunch of nonsense this whole matter was. A case of too much booze, too much money, too many lawyers and an over-reacting media. Sing don't fight.

Posted by acapnews at January 31, 2009 12:29 AM

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