Dustin Kolodziej of the San Antonio area said attorney James Mason offered in a "Dateline NBC" interview he would pay $1 million to anyone who could prove him wrong in claiming his client, Nelson Serrano, could have made it from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to a La Quinta Inn three miles away in less than 28 minutes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday.
"I challenge anybody to show me. I'll pay them $1 million if they can do it," Mason told the interview.
Serrano was convicted of killing four people from Bartow, Fla., in 1997 and the prosecution's case hinged on his ability to reach the inn in the time frame.
Kolodziej said he got off a plane at the airport, took his car from the parking garage and made it to the inn in just 19 minutes, capturing the whole experience on a camcorder. However, Mason refused to pay the $1 million reward, claiming the offer was a figure of speech.
Kolodziej's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, alleges breach of contract, claiming Mason's statements on "Dateline" constituted a verbal contract.
"What this case boils down to is would a reasonable person believe that this is legitimate," said David George, a lawyer for Kolodziej. "Think about the context. He's on 'Dateline,' national TV, and his client is on death row. That is not a joking context."