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Rush guitarist sues over 2003 incident

Claims security and deputies used too much force
/ Source: The Associated Press

The lead guitarist for the band Rush, his son and daughter-in-law are suing the Ritz-Carlton, its security director and three sheriff’s deputies stemming from a New Year’s Eve 2003 altercation at the Naples hotel.

Alex Zivojinovich, whose stage name is Alex Lifeson, his son Justin and daughter-in-law Michelle are seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages for injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish and the costs of their defense in criminal cases.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Hotel spokeswoman Suzanne Willis refused to comment Friday.

Messages left for lawyers who represented family members in their criminal cases and at the Collier County Sheriff’s office weren’t immediately returned.

Justin Zivojinovich and his friends agitated hotel security when they got up on a platform when the house band was taking a break at a party to ring in 2004.

The lawsuit alleges that deputies who responded to a call by hotel security “applied illegal and unjustified force, and such force was excessive,” causing Justin Zivojinovich “severe discomfort and pain.”

It also alleges that Michelle Zivojinovich was illegally arrested when she complained about the force used to subdue her husband.

Deputies said Alex Zivojinovich pushed a female deputy down a stairwell and spit in another deputy’s face when he tried to intervene. Zivojinovich, a founding member of Rush, suffered a broken nose and other injuries in the scuffle.

In April, Alex and Justin Zivojinovich accepted plea agreements to serve 12 months’ probation and pay court costs. The agreement called for each to plead to a single misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence. Adjudication was withheld, meaning there will be no formal conviction if they successfully complete probation.

Rush’s hits include “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight” and “The Spirit of Radio.”