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ARTICLE ID 188913

$________ Civil Assault – Plaintiff is violently assaulted by premises employee after witnessing and interceding for party in automobile collision – Traumatic Brain Injury.

18th Circuit Court

In this case, a man suffered brain damage after being assaulted. The plaintiff filed suit against the man who committed the assault, as well as the employer of the defendant, upon whose property the attack took place, and a third party. The defendant employer denied liability.

On October 17, ________, the plaintiff, a computer engineer for the United States military, was driving to work when he witnessed a collision between two vehicles. As an eyewitness to the collision, the plaintiff followed the two vehicles as they exited to a nearby Import Car Store parking lot. One of the two drivers, defendant Jason N., was the General Sales Manager at the Imported Car Store. Jason N. exited his vehicle and began yelling at the other driver, an elderly woman, telling her to get off "his lot" or that he would have her car towed. When the plaintiff attempted to intervene on the woman’s behalf, he was attacked by the defendant, head-butted and further attacked as he was unconscious on the ground.

He sustained a traumatic brain injury resulting in permanent brain damage. He suffers from severe pain on a daily basis, cognitive difficulties, and dystonia, a neurological disorder which produces involuntary muscle contractions causing the body to twist and contort into abnormal postures. His wife and their three children now act as his caretakers.

The plaintiff, as well as his wife (both on her own behalf and as next friend to their three children) filed suit in the 18th Circuit Court of Brevard County, Florida for Civil Assault. The plaintiffs sought recovery from The Imported Car Store, The Dingman Group and Jason N. for their role in the assault. The plaintiffs sought recovery of past and future medical expenses, lost past and future earnings, pain and suffering, and loss of society, comfort, services and attention for the plaintiff’s wife and children. The defendant Car Store asserted that Jason N. was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the attack.

The plaintiffs made a pretrial demand of $________, and the defendants’ final pre-trial offer was for $________ for the plaintiff and $________ to his wife. At trial, the plaintiff present an audio recording of the attack as captured in the ________ emergency call. They further brought testimony from five treating physicians, as well as a bereavement expert to discuss the effect of his condition on the family.

The defense contested liability, causation and damages, asserting that Jason N. was not acting as an employee at the time of the attack. The further argued that the plaintiff’s CT-scan and MRIs were negative for traumatic brain injury, and that the dystonia was caused by an underlying condition. Finally, they disputed damages, asserting that the plaintiff was going to lose his job anyway and that both significant alcohol abuse and marital discord was present in their marriage prior to the attack.The jury found in the plaintiff’s favor and returned a $28.5 million damages award for the plaintiff and his family. The verdict included past and future medical, lost wages and pain and suffering, as well as $________ for the wife’s losses and $3.5 million for the losses sustained by their three children. The jury assigned 60% of the fault to Jason N., 30% to The Imported Car Store, and 10% to the Dingman Group. The jury also found both The Imported Car Store and the Dingman Group vicariously liable.

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