Russell Brand isn't as bad a guy as the media is making him out to be, according to the lawyer of a man who's suing the comedian and actor for allegedly hitting him with a car in Los Angeles in January.
But that doesn't mean that the attorney doesn't want hundreds of thousands of dollars from the "Brand X With Russell Brand" star anyway.
Personal injury lawyer Robert Fink, who's representing Victor Sneed in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, told TheWrap on Tuesday that, contrary to reports, Brand didn't commit a hit-and-run on his client, and that Brand had been distracted by paparazzi when the accident occurred.
He also told TheWrap that he's seeking a lot more cash from Brand than has been reported.
The suit alleges that Brand struck Sneed, a guard at a Los Angeles medical center, while driving.
According to Fink, Brand struck Sneed while taking off in his Range Rover, after Sneed accompanied Brand out of the medical center. (Fink said he did not know why Brand was at the medical center, which he declined to identify out of concern for his client's privacy.) And contrary to reports that have circulated this week, Brand stopped and asked Sneed if he was alright after the incident.
Fink noted that a dazed Sneed didn't respond properly, and Brand left, but sent someone back to the scene to exchange pertinent information.
"I wouldn't call it hit and run," Fink said.
He also allowed that Brand may have been distracted by the paparazzi that were surrounding him. "There was a lot of paparazzi around," Fink said. "Paparazzi can drive you crazy."
(Brand would likely agree with that sentiment; back in March, the 37-year-old funnyman was arrested in New Orleans for allegedly throwing a cell phone belonging to a man who was trying to take his picture out of a building window.)
So why sue Brand? And why wait nine months to do so?
Fink said that the insurance company has dragged its feet on making good, so Sneed is compelled to go after Brand.
"The issue here is you’re dealing with insurance companies," Fink told TheWrap.
A spokeswoman for Brand has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.
Fink also cleared up another misconception in the reports on the lawsuit. While many accounts have claimed that Sneed is seeking $25,000 from Brand — a number likely based on the fact that the suit notes that Sneed is seeking an amount that "exceeds $25,000" — he's actually looking for hundreds of thousands of dollars from the incident.
According to Fink, Sneed — whose suit lists negligence and claims wage loss, loss of earning capacity and medical expenses — suffered a severe knee injury and may require knee surgery. The plaintiff, who is in his 60s, is working, but requires a brace and is using a cane, Fink said.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.