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Friday, January 22, 2010

Merriman Shocked by Paternity Suit

Source: SD Tribune

Shawne Merriman said he’s excited about becoming a father for the first time. His close friend, Tiffany Horne, is pregnant. The two have known each other for almost six years and have a good relationship, he said.

Which is why the Chargers linebacker said he was “shocked” to learn yesterday that a paternity case was filed against him in Horne’s name this week in San Diego Superior Court.

“She’s a great friend of mine and has been for almost six years now,” Merriman said. “There’s no denying of any kind of paternity. For this to be even taking place is a shock.”

Horne couldn’t be reached for comment. Merriman attributes the court filing to a communication breakdown between attorneys for him and Horne.

The case is under seal in court, which is common for paternity matters. Because of the seal, further details aren’t publicly available.

“It’s not a paternity suit,” said Horne’s attorney, David Schulman, “It’s between two people who have an agreement.”

He declined to give further details and said the matter was private.

Asked why the case was filed in public court, Schulman said the filing was “a formality.”

Merriman’s attorney, Jim Scott, called it a “standard paternity case.”

“We’re looking forward to it being handled quietly and favorably,” Scott said. “Mr. Merriman is a stand-up guy. It’s surprising they’ve gone to this action with the child not even being born yet.”

Scott recently had to leave San Diego to attend a family funeral, leading to a breakdown in communication between attorneys, Merriman said. That may have led to a public filing in a matter that Merriman said otherwise was being handled privately between attorneys.

Shortly after explaining his side of the situation yesterday to the Union-Tribune, Merriman sent out a message to his followers on Twitter.

“Wanted to wait until after the season to share some exciting news,” Merriman wrote. “I’m going to be (a) Dad. I’m so excited.”

Other Chargers legal news

• Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson sued the California Department of Motor Vehicles last year to avoid having his driver’s license suspended. San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Frazier denied that request in September and reimposed the suspension of Jackson’s license at that time. That ruling led to his citation Sunday for driving with a suspended license, shortly before the Chargers’ playoff defeat against the New York Jets.

Jackson’s license was suspended after he was arrested in January 2009 on suspicion of drunken driving. He was already on five years’ probation for a 2006 DUI conviction.

• Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips is still facing a civil suit stemming from an alleged incident at the Ivy Hotel in April. A security guard there, Robert Chase Van Cleave, accuses Phillips of punching him and spitting in his face and is seeking payment of his medical expenses and unspecified damages.

Phillips was cited for misdemeanor battery. The San Diego city attorney’s office declined to file a charge for lack of evidence.