Judge likely to throw out dwarf tossing suit
February 27, 2002 - St. Petersburg Times

In a federal lawsuit, Dave Flood had challenged the state law banning the tossing of dwarfs like himself in barroom shows.

Now, it looks like it will be his lawsuit that gets the heave ho.

U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday said Monday that he would likely throw out Flood's case, which was filed in November.

In the suit, Flood alleged that his constitutional right to equal protection was violated with the 1989 passage of a law prohibiting dwarf tossing. The 3-foot 2-inch entertainer, who appears using the moniker Dave the Dwarf on WFLZ-FM 93.3's MJ Morning Show with MJ Kelli, said the law offended him.

He said Tuesday that he plans to arrange a tossing event after he returns from a New York talk show appearance.

"I'm going to have a toss," Flood said.

Dwarf tossing is thought to have started in Australia and was popularized in America in the 1980s. Barroom contestants see who can lob the dwarfs the farthest onto mattresses. Other versions call for the dwarfs to be strapped into Velcro-like suits and hurled onto Velcro-like walls.

After vocal protests from the advocacy group Little People of America, lawmakers made the activity illegal because of the danger to dwarfs, who have brittle bones. Violators face revocations of their liquor licenses and up to $1,000 in fines.

In considering his decision, Merryday said the case appeared to be without controversy as the law is on the books, but the state never developed rules to enforce it. An official with the state Attorney General's Office said the state would likely quickly enact rules to enforce the law.

Flood, who has been frozen in a block of ice, sent to live in a Dumpster for charity and stuffed inside a giant bowling ball, said he would consider a future challenge if the state begins enforcing the law.

"People confuse exploitation with capitalization," he said. "If I were 7 feet tall, I'd get paid to put a basketball through a hoop."

The lawsuit has brought Flood, the single father of an 11-year- old girl, worldwide attention.

"I've gotten a lot of exposure out of it," Flood said. "It was a nice blessing in disguise."