06/15/2011 at 02:00 PM EDT
Teresa Giudice and her Real Housewives of New Jersey
costars have been accused of starting a bar brawl
in court documents filed Monday. But an attorney for the reality star says the Feb. 23 incident in the Dominican Republic was an act of self-defense.
Adolfo Arreola and Jason Gomez claim in court papers that Teresa sprayed their party with champagne, then mocked Arreola's mother-in-law when the drink got in her eyes. They also allege that Joe Giudice and Albert, Chris and Albie Manzo attacked them "without provocation."
But an attorney for the Giudices tells a different story.
"They acted in self defense," says Jim Kridel, an attorney for Teresa and Joe Giudice, saying that after the champagne incident, words were exchanged – and a member of the rival party physically assaulted Teresa.
"Teresa was hit and assaulted," says Kridel. "She is still in pain over this. This wasn't something that was minor." He adds that whatever his client may have said, "mere words are not provocation to hit someone. There's no justification for that."
Any resulting physical altercation with the plaintiffs, "was an act of self-defense," Kridel claims. "If someone threatens you, you can react with reasonable force. That's what my clients did."
Kridel also denies the allegation, in court papers, that the cast members brutally assaulted Arreola and Gomez.
"It's absolutely ridiculous that they were assaulted without provocation," he says. "These people are very litigious and they are looking for an opportunity to look into someone else's pocket."