Updated at 4:25 p.m. Aug. 11, 2012
Murray “Moose” Lea, the homeless surfboard-maker who claims Junior Seau nearly killed him in a 2010 driving accident, says he has been offered a settlement in his personal-injury lawsuit against the late Chargers star.
In an exchange of email Friday, Lea said: “There was an offer, and it’s been double”—without specifying what “double” meant.
According to court documents, Lea in 2011 sought $256,000 from Seau as compensatory damages in connection with Seau’s 2010 SUV plunge off a Carlsbad cliff.
In mid-May, Lea (pronounced LEE) says he was close enough to Seau’s car he could have grabbed the door handle, but injured himself jumping away.
“I’m suing a dead legend for a quarter-million dollars,” Lea said at the time from the car he calls home in Carlsbad. But he said he wasn’t targeting Seau, since “Farmers Insurance has taken over the case.”
Friday morning, a trial readiness conference was held before Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego Superior Court, according to court officials.
However, a scheduled civil trial “may or may not go forward” on Aug. 31, according to Karen Dalton, a spokeswoman for the Superior Court.
Rayna Stephan, a Mission Valley attorney who represents Farmers Insurance Exchange, said she had no comment on the matter.
“I appreciate your call, though,” she said when contacted by phone at her office Friday afternoon.
Lea’s civil suit against Tiaina Seau Jr.—the formal name of the Hall of Fame-bound linebacker—was filed June 27, 2011. Seau, 43, committed suicide at his Oceanside home on May 2, 2012.
On Friday, Lea sent Patch a series of notes and photos that he contends are evidence that Seau nearly ran over him in October 2010 when Seau’s SUV went over a seaside cliff in Carlsbad.
“You can see where I slipped in the mud. … I was standing, facing the ocean,” Lea said Friday. “I spun around on my right foot and sidestepped with my left foot. You tell me how close I came to getting killed.”
He noted a YouTube video on the incident and said: “You will see me at the top of the screen and on the edge of cliff. Follow me back 4 feet and you see [where] my left foot slipped in the mud 45 [minutes] after it was wet out. You can still see it.”
Lea forwarded an email from a friend discussing the kind of data that a Cadillac Escalade—the kind of car Seau was driving in the cliff plunge—could reveal through its so-called event data recorder.
But Lea declined to share other details of his case against Seau, saying via email: “No more interviews. I do live radio only. Check out Bill [Handel]” on Saturday, citing the lawyer’s morning talk show on Los Angeles station KFI.
Michelle Kube is executive producer of the weekday Bill Handel Show, and says she doesn’t handle the weekend show focusing on legal matters.
But, she said: “As far as I'm aware, Bill does not have an interview scheduled with Moose Lea on Saturday. Traditionally, Bill does not have guests on Handel on the Law; rather, he takes listeners’ legal questions during that time.”
(Lea was not heard in the call-in portion of the show Saturday morning, and Lea said via email he was busy getting his car repaired.)
Lea, who was 50 in mid-May, recommended calls to Rayna Stephan.