NEW YORK: In the biggest compensation ever given to anyone in California, a 43-year-old house painter was on Friday awarded $58 million in damages by a jury after half his skull was smashed by a bar bouncer in April 2010.
The jury at Torrance Superior Court was unanimous in awarding the unprecedented amount to Antonio Lopez Chaj because of the severity of attack which left his skull permanently bashed in.
The victim, who is brain-damaged and cannot speak and needs 24-hour care, appeared a new conference with his lawyer on Friday after the award.
Everyone was shocked when the victim took off his cap to show his caved-in skull.
His skull is “like a pie with 25 percent cut out of it,” said his lawyer Federico Sayre.
Chaj was attacked when he, accompanied by his brother and two nephews, went to a neighbourhood bar called Barra Latina.
One of his nephews had an argument with the bartender-manager of the bar, with the manager attacking his nephew with brass knuckles.
When Chaj tried to stop the manager from attacking his nephew, the security guard Emerson Quintanilla – working for DGSP Security and Patrol Services – started hitting him with his baton. He hit Chaj on the head eight times and then smashed his skull four time against pavement.
Doctors somehow managed to save Chaj, but his speech and a huge part of his skull were gone.
“I think the man went crazy, lost his mind. It was a species of road rage,’’ said his lawyer.
While the manager and the attacker have not been traced to this day, but the security firm DGSP Security and Patrol Services which had hired the attacker security guard Emerson Quintanilla now faces music.
Even if the award amount is challenged, the security firm will still have to shell out a huge amount to pay Chaj.