NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A lot of people called Mark Morice a hero.
John M. Lyons Junior calls him a defendant.
Morice commandeered Lyons' boat during the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina and said he rescued more than 200 people. Included in that number was Irving Gordon, a 93-year-old dialysis patient who Morice carried from his flooded home, placed in the boat and rescued.
But Lyons sued Morice for taking his boat without permission and not returning it.
The lawsuit contends that Lyons suffered his own distress, in the form of "grief, mental anguish, embarrassment and suffering . . . due to the removal of the boat," as well as its replacement costs.
E. Ronald Mills, Lyons' lawyer, who filed the suit in 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish earlier this month, says Morice made no attempt to return the boat.
Morice says he left the boat for other rescuers to use if they needed it when he left town a week after the storm. Lyons' boat, an 18-foot, 1998-model 180 Sea Sport, was one of three Morice said he commandeered after water started rising. Morice said one of the other boat owners told him he was glad Morice had been able to hot-wire his boat, and the other boat owner apparently has not complained.