A Los Angeles court has issued an arrest warrant for former British soccer star Daniel Sturridge over his failure to show up in court after a plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit claiming the 34-year-old owes him reward money for finding his missing dog.
According to Daily Mail, the former Manchester City star and England international in July 2019 disclosed his Pomeranian dog had been stolen from his Los Angeles home. He also offered a monetary reward for anyone who would return his pet dog to him.
The plaintiff, identified as Foster Washington, claimed he found the dog and returned it to Sturridge. But he said the former soccer star did not pay him the monetary reward he had tabled, causing him to file the civil lawsuit.
Sturridge was in December 2021 initially ordered by a Los Angeles Court to pay Washington $30,000 after a default judgment was passed because of his failure to respond to the civil lawsuit. The court in September 2023 subsequently ordered him to re-appear for a “debtor’s exam.” This proceeding allows a creditor to ask the debtor questions about the debtor’s finances in a “judicial setting.”
But since Sturridge did not show up, a judge served a bench warrant for his arrest, Daily Mail reported. A new hearing is scheduled to be held on November 30. In the wake of the 2021 ruling, Sturridge took to X to claim he had paid a reward to a young boy who found his dog.
“Just to let you know the truth at Christmas. I met a young boy who found my dog and paid him a reward, which he was delighted with, as was I to get my dog back because he was stolen,” he wrote on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“Other people are trying to benefit for their own personal gain. Thank you to the young boy once again. I’m very grateful Lucci is back with our family.”
Washington, however, claims that is not the case. “For me, it’s a point of principle. He promised me the money. It’s a substantial amount of money that could change my family’s life,” the plaintiff, who claims the civil lawsuit has cost him $10,000, told Daily Mail.
“He thinks he is above the law. He thinks because he’s rich he doesn’t have to respond to what’s going on. That’s why I had to have the judge issue a warrant so he has to pay the money.”
The plaintiff’s attorney, Thomas Scully, also said that “a lot of people just decide to ignore lawsuits for whatever reason and a lot of times they get away with it because they don’t have any money.”
Scully added: “But it doesn’t seem that Daniel Sturridge should get away with it. He has the money to pay and he has the money to hire a lawyer. He just doesn’t feel like it. He probably doesn’t feel like he is beholden to California courts and so he is probably just going to continue ignoring it.
“But I have some other tools in the Californian civil procedure and I am going to keep on trying to pursue with that. This isn’t the end of the story. I am certainly not giving up yet.”