On June 5, 2015, attorney James Bonebrake obtained a verdict of $492,350.00 on behalf of his client.
The plaintiff, Mr. Bonebrake’s client, went to the Brothers’ Lounge (owned by defendant Sandona Corporation) for a birthday party for one of his friends on October 11, 2011. While there, plaintiff and his friends consumed alcohol and the evidence showed that plaintiff was intoxicated. The owner of the bar signaled for the bouncer, co-defendant, Tywan Howard, to approach plaintiff. Plaintiff, and two of plaintiff’s friends who were with him at the bar that evening, testified that Howard approached plaintiff and asked him a question. They testified that plaintiff did nothing to provoke Howard or anyone else in the bar that night, including the female bartender behind the bar at the time of the incident. They further testified that Howard suddenly punched plaintiff in the cheek and knocked him to the ground. All of plaintiffs’ witnesses testified that they could hear the sound of plaintiff hitting the ground, head first. The ambulance and police were called, and plaintiff was taken out of the bar via ambulance in a pool of blood from his head. He had very little memory of the events and remembered awakening at MacNeal Hospital some time later.
CT’s of the head taken at MacNeal Hospital revealed brain hemorrhage, including in the ventricles, hydrocephalus due to back-up of cerebrospinal fluid from the hemorrhage, and the need to closely monitor for potential brain herniation. Plaintiff remained in the hospital from October 21-31, 2011, and then was transferred to Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, where he remained for two more weeks for rehabilitation relating to both cognitive and motor deficits. Plaintiff had one subsequent seizure but otherwise made a full recovery.
Defendant Howard testified that he did not hit plaintiff at all; rather; plaintiff moved towards him and accidentally fell to the ground due to his intoxicated state. The defendant bar contended that plaintiff was intoxicated, was hostile and threatening towards the female bartender, provoked the confrontation, and was therefore responsible for his own injuries.
The Court, as trier of fact, found that Howard committed both negligent and intentional misconduct and battered the plaintiff. It also found that Co-defendant Sandona Corporation was liable for its employee Howard’s actions because the actions were committed in the course of Howard’s employment and in furtherance of the interests of Sandona. It awarded gross damages in the amount of $547,056.00, including $136,764 for medical bills and $410,292 for pain and suffering and disability. The Court further found plaintiff to be 10% contributorily negligent due to his intoxication and reduced the award to a net judgment of $492,350.00.