United’s Charlie Davies files $20 million lawsuit


D.C. United striker Charlie Davies battles Jeff Parke of the Seattle Sounders FC in a September game. (Otto Greule Jr/GETTY IMAGES)
October 18, 2011

D.C. United striker Charlie Davies has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the owner of a nightclub and the company that hosted a party at which alcohol was served to the driver responsible for a car accident that severely injured the soccer player and killed another passenger.

The suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court last week, names Das Enterprises, which operates Shadow Room, and Red Bull North America, the host of the private event on Oct. 12, 2009, at the K Street establishment.

The lawsuit claims the companies continued to serve alcohol to Maria Alejandra Espinoza, even though she “became visibly intoxicated.”

An initial conference is scheduled for Jan. 13.

Espinoza, from Clarksville, Md., was sentenced in March to two years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and maiming while driving intoxicated.

Ashley Roberta, of Phoenix, Md., was killed in the accident. Davies’s injuries included a ruptured bladder, bleeding in the brain, and facial, rib, leg and elbow fractures. He returned to pro soccer last year and joined United before the 2011 season.

The suit asserts that some of Davies’s injuries caused permanent disfigurement in the form of multiple scars and that he will continue to face substantial medical expenses. It also says Davies “suffered, and will continue to suffer, great pain of body and mind.”

In addition, the suit states, Davies was unable to continue playing for the U.S. national team, ending his hopes of competing at the 2010 World Cup. Davies was a regular on the squad before the accident and hasn’t received a call-up since.

Although he resumed his pro career, Davies wasn’t able to continue on the path that might have led to a major contract with a European club. He was playing for French club Sochaux before the accident occurred.

United acquired him on a one-year loan in January and, according to the MLS players’ union, he is earning about $250,000 this season. He is second on the team in goals with 11 but has struggled to regain the playing form that propelled his career before the accident.

Das Entertainment and Red Bull North America were not immediately available to comment.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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