Photo by inboundpass [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by inboundpass [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
An attorney for a man who alleges he was subjected to attempted extortion after asking to be paid $8.6 million for helping to set Manny Pacquiao’s fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. told a judge Tuesday that a lawyer for the Filipino boxer used strong-arm tactics to try and force the plaintiff to accept a lowball settlement.

Attorney Amman Khan, who represents server/actor Gabriel Rueda, alleged that lawyer Keith M. Davidson urged Rueda to settle for $50,000, or face the possibility he would not work in Hollywood again.

Davidson also said he would help Rueda acquire more acting jobs with the help of a talent agency, Khan alleged.

“He acted like a mob fixer. No lawyer makes these kinds of threats,” Khan said, alleging that Davidson also told Rueda, “Look, this is boxing, nobody cares if anybody gets hurt.”

After hearing the arguments on Davidson lawyer Jason Liang’s motion to dismiss Rueda’s claims for attempted extortion and intentional infliction of emotional distress, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Sotelo took the case under submission.

On July 26, he took a similar motion by Pacquiao’s lawyers under submission. He did not say when he would rule on either motion.

Rueda filed hid lawsuit — which also alleges breach of an oral contract, fraud and unjust enrichment — on Feb. 4, naming Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, CBS, Showtime Entertainment and Davidson, described in the plaintiff’s court papers as a lawyer for “Roach, Pacquiao and a few other powerful people.”

Rueda’s suit states he served CBS President Leslie Moonves while working at Craig’s restaurant in West Hollywood and told Moonves he could introduce him to Roach in order to break the ice between Al Haymon and Bob Arum, the promoters for Mayweather and Pacquiao, respectively.

The lawsuit states that Rueda arranged a meeting between Roach and Moonves, with an agreement that he would get a 2 percent finder’s fee of gross fight proceeds paid to CBS, Showtime Network, Pacquiao and Roach.

Davidson, on behalf of Pacquiao and Roach, met with Rueda a month later at a coffeehouse at Sunset Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, according to the lawsuit. Davidson told Rueda that if he did not accept the settlement proposal and sign a release, he would lose his job at Craig’s and “never work as an actor in this town again,” the suit alleges.

After Rueda called his boss at the restaurant and confirmed that Davidson contacted Craig’s, the restaurant management told him they would fire him if he did not accept the offer, because they wanted to keep Moonves’ business, according to the lawsuit.

Liang said the $50,000 tender to Rueda was actually a counter-offer to a proposal by Rueda during a previous meeting. Liang said there was nothing unusual in Davidson’s remarks, saying lawyers can sometimes be aggressive during settlement negotiations. He denied the offer to Rueda was a tax-free, “under the table” proposal.

Liang told the judge that the $50,000 offer Davidson made to Rueda to amounted to pre-litigation communications that are not actionable, the same argument Pacquiao’s attorney, David Marroso, made last week in his dismissal motion.

But the judge said Davidson’s alleged remarks that Rueda might never work as an actor again “can easily be read like talking to a Mafia lawyer.”

Khan said that despite Pacquiao’s poor performance because of a shoulder injury, the public watched in large numbers as Mayweather beat him by unanimous decision on May 2, 2015.

–City News Service 

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