Saturday, June 02, 2001

Mason quarrel not over yet

Ex-neighbors sue each other

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A former minor-league pitcher who was acquitted by a jury of assaulting his neighbor sued the injured man Friday.

        Dennis Rock's lawsuit comes on the heels of a similar action by Gary Kretzer, a 39-year-old autoworker who suffered severe brain damage June 3, 2000, in the fight over parking in their affluent Mason neighborhood.

        Mr. Kretzer can no longer work or drive as a result of the punch thrown by Mr. Rock.

        The punch knocked Mr. Kretzer down and caused him to strike his head against the pavement.

        In the lawsuit, filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court, Mr. Rock, 46, claims that Mr. Kretzer punched him in the face, causing bruising and a bloody lip.

        As a result of the incident, Mr. Rock has suffered medical bills, mental anguish and lost wages and earning potential, the complaint said.

        Mr. Rock is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

        “It is absolutely preposterous,” the Kretzers' attorney, Michael Davis, said of the lawsuit.

        “The underlying premise of any civil lawsuit is that you've been damaged in some way. The only person that I see as being damaged in this particular circumstance is Gary Kretzer.”

        On the day of the incident, Mr. Kretzer confronted Mr. Rock about clients for his pitching lessons parking in front of Mr. Kretzer's house.

        Mr. Rock had said he punched Mr. Kretzer in self-defense.

        Mr. Rock was arrested on a charge of felonious assault and acquitted by a jury May 23. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Rock said he spent more than $40,000 in attorney fees to fight the charge.

        “My client has had his entire life turned upside down as a result of this,” said Herbert Haas, the attorney who filed the civil suit on behalf of Mr. Rock and his wife, Mary Beth.

        The couple and their children moved out of state in the middle of the criminal case after receiving telephone death threats, Mr. Haas said.

        The latest action came three days after Mr. Kretzer, his wife, Kimberly, and their two young sons filed suit against Mr. Rock seeking damages.

        The suit claims that Mr. Rock struck Mr. Kretzer, who has no memory of the incident, without provocation.


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