Community activist Woody Merry is countersuing former Augusta Commission candidate Bill Fennoy, saying Fennoy is the one who started the fight with him at James Brown Arena two years ago and should be the one to pay damages for physical injuries.
Merry, responding to a $30,000 lawsuit filed against him and his CSRA Help group last month, said he also wants punitive damages "to deter future similar conduct" and payment of his attorney's fees by Fennoy.
"Upon attempting to protect himself," according to Merry's answer, filed Friday in Richmond County State Court, "Defendant Merry was either negligently or intentionally knocked to the ground by the plaintiff whereupon he was repeatedly kicked suffering injuries and damages as will more fully appear at trial."
The two men faced off in a bumping, pushing and kicking brawl before an Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority meeting May 29, 2008, after Merry confronted Fennoy in a corridor.
Merry was upset at Fennoy, a board member at the time, for having sat out an earlier meeting, which prevented a quorum and a possible vote to rehire fired Facilities Director Julie Huggins.
Fennoy said in his lawsuit that his left thumb was knocked out of joint, a permanent injury, and that he continues to "suffer humiliation as a result of being arrested, fingerprinted, his body being searched, and his freedom to move about restricted."
Both men were charged with simple battery.
The charge against Fennoy was dismissed, and Merry's charge was dead docketed on the condition that he issue an apology and behave at public meetings.