City Tries to Get Out of Patti LaBelle Lawsuit

The City of Houston is claiming immunity in a lawsuit filed by a former West Point cadet who said members of singer Patti LaBelle's entourage assaulted him at Bush Intercontinental Airport last March.

In papers filed Thursday, city attorneys claimed that Richard King's civil suit improperly named the airport as a defendant, when the airport is an extension of the city and therefore not subject to suit. King had included the airport as a defendant, saying it had failed to provide "a reasonably safe environment."

The airport is operated by Houston Airport Systems, which is "merely a department of Houston, and, as such, has no capacity to be sued separately," according to the city's response.

The city also moved to dismiss claims against co-defendant Shauquetha Boyd Mays, a taxi dispatcher employed by the airport. Her airport position makes her a city employee, and therefore not liable for King's allegations, according to the city's response.

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Neither LaBelle nor any of the other co-defendants have responded to the suit. After King's suit was filed June 1, a woman at LaBelle's management company, Pattonium, referred Hair Balls to spokesman Patti Webster for all questions. Webster, who was strangely out of the office every time we called, hasn't returned any of our calls.

It's nice to see some development in this suit, but we, like everyone else, are really more interested in how Lady Marmalade herself will respond to these allegations.

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