Lawsuit over cabbage thrown in St. Patrick’s Day parade is settled _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ --- The Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Club Parade rolls through the streets of New Orleans with its over 1,400 members dispersing paper flowers, cabbages, beads and kisses on Saturday, March 16, 2013. A Connecticut woman is suing the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Club after she was allegedly struck in the face by a cabbage thrown from a float rider in the March parade this year.

A lawsuit brought by a Connecticut woman who was injured after being hit in the face by a cabbage during the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club’s 2014 parade has been settled.

Financial details of the settlement were not disclosed.

Jean Brown’s suit, filed in May, was set for a two-day jury trial next month.

Brown alleged that the cabbage was “thrown overhand, like a baseball” by “a float rider from the top deck of a float.” She said the cabbage knocked her off her feet, leading to injuries that required multiple surgeries.

But uncovering her assailant’s identity proved a challenge. Last fall, Brown asked U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt for a three-month extension so she could interview more float riders about “the positions of the riders on the float,” court records show.

Her court filing said she had identified which float the cabbage was likely tossed from and had a list of its riders, but it was unclear where they were standing because the club did not keep a list of riders’ positions.

Jerry Sullivan, a Metairie attorney for the parade’s organizers, said in a February court filing that there was “absolutely no evidence that any of the defendants acted in a grossly negligent manner or in a deliberate and wanton fashion as required by Louisiana law.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles III signed an order Friday that acknowledged the settlement.

Brown’s lawsuit had sought more than $75,000 in damages for what it described as “severe and disabling injuries, including but not limited to bleeding, multiple fractures to her face, compression to her facial nerves, a break in her eye socket, a tear in her cornea, surgeries and also likely requiring future surgeries.”

Neither Sullivan nor Brown’s New Orleans attorney, Rufus Harris, returned calls for comment Monday.

The suit also named the parade’s insurance underwriter, Lloyd’s of London.

Ronnie Burke, an official with the Irish Channel club, said the settlement involved Lloyd’s and that parade organizers did not admit wrongdoing as part of the deal.

The annual St. Patrick’s parade typically features hundreds of tuxedo-clad marchers and riders. Cabbages are considered a treasured prize of the parade, which is held to celebrate Irish heritage.

Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.