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UC Irvine prof can seek damages from Johnny Depp in concert scuffle

November 2, 2012 | 10:47 am

A UC Irvine professor who claims she was injured by Johnny Depp's bodyguards can seek punitive damages from the actor, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled

A UC Irvine professor who claims she was injured by Johnny Depp's bodyguards can seek punitive damages from the actor, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled.

Robin A. Eckert, who teaches at the university's medical school, said she was roughed up by Depp's bodyguards during an Iggy and the Stooges concert at the Hollywood Palladium last December. She said she had attended the show with her husband and friends.

Eckert, 53, claims Depp's bodyguards bearhugged her and attempted to take her iPhone. The phone, she said, contained confidential information related to her work as a physician.

Eckert alleges that the bodyguards dragged her through the VIP area and dropped her to the ground. It was unclear from the lawsuit why the guards allegedly wanted her phone.

Eckert could not be reached, and her attorney declined to comment.

At some point during the episode, the guards allegedly claimed to be off-duty police officers and showed Eckert a set of handcuffs and pretended to try to arrest her, grabbing her wrist and dragging her about 40 feet in the handcuffs, according to the lawsuit.

Depp's attorneys contend in court papers that Eckert was hostile and provoked the alleged assault and therefore "consented to any assault and battery" she may have suffered.

Eckert assaulted Depp, and he had a reasonable fear for his safety and life, the actor's attorneys argue.

In her lawsuit, Eckert, a mother of two, said she was on leave from her job at the time because of a disability that left her walking with a cane and needing other walking assistance. After the incident, she contends, her existing conditions worsened and she now suffers from trauma, chronic pain and insomnia.

She also claims to have almost no mobility in her left hand and soreness and a limited range of motion in an elbow she claims was dislocated in the incident.

A jury trial date in the case was set for Aug. 12.

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-- Lauren Williams

twitter.com/@lawilliams30

Photo: Johnny Depp in Paris in 2011. Credit: Getty Images

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