The default judgment orders Dion Earl to pay $742,000 in damages for lost wages and emotional distress and an additional $215,549 in legal fees to the firm representing the plaintiffs.
Former Seattle Impact indoor soccer team owner Dion Earl has been ordered to pay nearly $1 million in damages and legal fees in a lawsuit brought by former employees.
An ex-parte ruling in King County Superior Court on Dec. 30 brought an end to the 2-year-old case in which four former Impact employees claimed they were unfairly treated and dismissed by Earl while two female dance team members said he’d sexually assaulted them by groping and pressing up against them. The default judgment orders Earl, 44, to pay $742,000 in damages for lost wages and emotional distress and an additional $215,549 in legal fees to the firm representing the plaintiffs.
“He didn’t show up through the entire litigation so he was held in default,’’ said Jason Rittereiser, one of two lawyers handling the plaintiffs’ case for Seattle-based HKM Employment Attorneys.
The bulk of the award went to the two dance team members, with one receiving $255,000 and the other $155,000.
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Rittereiser said a lien has automatically been placed on a Kent property owned by Earl as his firm goes about trying to collect the judgment. Earl owned properties in Kent and in Mesa, Ariz., and is believed to be living out of state.
The Impact was founded in 2014 to play in the inaugural season of the Major Arena Soccer League, with home games at ShoWare Center in Kent.
But problems surfaced between former pro soccer player Earl and employees even before the team’s first game. Complaints of sexual harassment and assault on the two dance team members led to that squad being disbanded, while 22 of the Impact’s players quit the team in protest after the season opener.
The Impact continued on playing in front of paltry crowds with a reduced roster often bolstered by last-minute additions. In January 2015, with six games to play in the season, Earl disbanded the Impact and sold his local MASL franchise rights to the Tacoma Stars and owner Lane Smith.
The King County Sherriff’s Department investigated the sexual assault complaint but declined to bring criminal charges.