Frederick “Toots” Hibbert has filed a lawsuit seeking $21 million against a young Henrico County man accused of throwing a vodka bottle at the reggae singer during a recent concert in Richmond.
The lawsuit, filed June 4 in Richmond Circuit Court against William Connor Lewis, seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages.
Lewis, 19, faces a felony criminal charge of malicious wounding in connection with the incident, which occurred May 18 at the Dominion Riverrock festival on Brown’s Island.
Hibbert was injured when the bottle struck him in the head as he was performing.
Hibbert, lead singer of Toots and the Maytals, was performing the song “Country Roads” at about 10:15 p.m. when he says Lewis threw a bottle of Grey Goose vodka “with great force and violence,” according to the complaint.
The bottle struck Hibbert in the upper left side of his face and caused a tear to his forehead and face, causing permanent scarring, according to the complaint.
The blow left the singer “disoriented and grievously injured in body and mind,” the complaint says.
Hibbert dropped the microphone and left the stage as the show came to a sudden end.
According to the complaint, Lewis had been drinking from the vodka bottle and was seen near the stage on which Hibbert was performing.
The lawsuit adds that the Riverrock concert was part of a nationwide tour and that the band had to cancel the rest of the tour because of the incident, costing Hibbert significant income.
Hibbert’s injuries left him unable to record, compose or make public appearances, the lawsuit says.
Christopher Collins, an attorney representing Lewis, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Last week, Collins said his client was “very remorseful” and devastated about what happened to Hibbert.
Collins made the comments on Friday after Lewis appeared in Richmond General District Court for a hearing in the criminal case.
Collins also said Lewis had been enrolled at Radford University but that the school has asked him not to return.
Hibbert traveled from Jamaica to Richmond to attend Friday’s hearing, where he was joined by Michael R. Shapiro, a Los Angeles-based attorney.
After the hearing, Shapiro said the 70-year-old singer is doing “as well as can be expected.”
“He’s still under treatment and observation,” Shapiro added. “There’s no clear resolution to his health at this time.”
The malicious wounding charge is expected to go before a grand jury July 1.