By PAUL SIMS
Mississippi State University and its president may be added to a lawsuit resulting from an alleged cowbell assault at the Egg Bowl two football seasons ago.
On Monday, an attorney representing William Matthew Brasher filed a request in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court to add MSU and Mark Keenum, the institution’s president, to the suit – which did not seek specific monetary damages – originally filed in November.
The plaintiff alleges Brent Vowell used a cowbell to assault him at the Nov. 28, 2009 football game between MSU and the University of Mississippi at MSU’s Davis Wade Stadium. In the suit, Brasher says he suffered numerous injuries, including a 4-inch gash to his head, exposing his skull; permanent scarring; loss of consciousness; a concussion and loss of memory.
The initial lawsuit filing named the Southeastern Conference and its commissioner, Mike Slive, and reserved the right to seek the addition of MSU later.
In a Feb. 1 response, Slive and the SEC denied many points laid out in the suit. In his own answer, Vowell admits bringing a cowbell to the game but denies the alleged attack.
In the latest move, the plaintiff alleges MSU did not take adequate steps to enforce the SEC’s policy against bringing artificial noisemakers to football games and asserts officials knew or should have known failure to enforce the policy could result in the injuries Brasher sustained.
“The university, as a practice, does not provide comment on current or potential litigation,” MSU spokeswoman Maridith Geuder said.
Vowell faces the charge of aggravated assault in connection with the case. In January, his attorneys sought – and were granted – more time to investigate the matter. A trial on the charge was rescheduled to the next court term, which starts later this month.