CLEVELAND — A Cleveland man who says he was mistaken as the Browns fan who threw beer on a Titans player during the Browns home opener on Sept. 8 against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium has filed a lawsuit against the team.
Eric Smith filed the lawsuit Monday in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. His wife is named as a co-plaintiff on the lawsuit.
It took the Browns less than 48 hours to allegedly pinpoint Eric Smith as the man seen in a video throwing beer on Titans players after they ran back an interception for a touchdown and then jumped into the Dawg Pound.
On Sept. 11, a Cleveland Browns official notified Smith that he was identified as the fan who threw beer on a Titans player, resulting in him being permanently banned from attending another Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The official, identified in the lawsuit as Bob Sivik, vice president of sales and tickets for the Browns, told Smith that there were multiple security cameras in the stadium that matched his face and arm tattoo.
The problem was, Smith wasn’t at the game on Sept. 8, and hasn’t been to a Browns game in over nine years, the lawsuit states.
Smith alleges in the lawsuit that it wasn’t until news got out that he was the wrong person in the footage that the vice president of communications reached out to him and apologized, stating, “our intent was to act swiftly and decisively. Unfortunately, we didn’t do enough homework.”
The lawsuit states that Smith and his wife are seeking claims for relief from negligence, defamation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, false light and loss of consortium caused by the team. They seek damages, equitable relief and other remedies from the Browns "as a result of their misconduct," the lawsuit states.
A Browns spokesperson declined comment about the lawsuit on behalf of the team due to it being a pending legal matter.
After Smith went public with claims that he mistakenly identified, the Browns released a statement that said they have been in contact with multiple people and are continuing their investigation:
“Our investigation of the fan incident on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium remains ongoing. While we are continuing to gather information and have been in contact with multiple people as part of that process, we have not explicitly identified the individual involved or taken any formal action of punishment at this time. We will have no further comment until the investigation is complete.”
Read the full lawsuit below: