The tabloid battle kicked off in the wee hours of Sept. 6 when police were called out to the linebacker’s Poway home. The reality-show host (real name: Tila Nguyen) accused Merriman of assault, battery and false. The Charger, who was arrested by San Diego County Sheriff's deputies the morning after the fight but did not end up facing criminal charges, said he was only trying to protect Nguyen, who he described as intoxicated, from leaving his home.
In late November, the diminutive Nguyen sued, claiming she argued with Merriman over the football player's personal drug use and "tone of disrespect' toward women. Her suit claims the fight led to a physical attack where the linebacker chased Nguyen, shook her like a "rag doll," choked her and slammed her into a couch. She’s asking for $1.5 million.
In the latest court development, the lineman went on the defense, filing a suit claiming "intentional interference with contract and unfair competition as well as trademark infringement," according to multiple reports. The claim argues that Nguyen posted the Charger’s Lights Out logo on her Web site, according to TMZ.com, the celebrity tabloid site. Merriman’s nickname is Light’s Out.
The suit also maintains that Tequila’s use of Merriman’s image on her site was used to create site traffic “so visitors would purchase goods and services such as music and jewelry and VIP services,” reported the San Diego Union-Tribune, which also reported that Merriman is alleging in court papers that a deal the player had with WalMart to sell T-shirts with his logo is now in delayed air and that her allegations have also harmed his relationship with the football team.
The paper also reported that Merriman is seeking damages of up to $2 million and an injunction from copyright infringement.