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Man claimed bouncer hit him in head with police baton

Amount:

$886,504.08

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Texas

Venue:

Tarrant County

Court:

Tarrant County Court at Law No. 1

Injury Type(s):

head; head-fracturel skull;
head-closed head injury; neck; brain-coma; brain-brain damage; brain-subdural hematoma; brain-traumatic brain injury; brain-subarachnoid hemorrhage; other-laceration; arterial/vascular-hemorrhage; surgeries/treatment-tracheostomy/tracheotomy; mental/psychological-cognition (memory, impairment), impairment (memory, impairment);
mental/psychological-post-traumatic stress disorder; pulmonary/respiratory-respiratory; gastrointestinal/digestive-pancreatitis

Case Type:

Hotel/Restaurant; Worker/Workplace Negligence – Negligent Security

Case Name:

Carlos Rivera-Guardado v. Tejanitos y Mas Inc.,
No. 2015-001109-1

Date:

January 31, 2018

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Carlos Rivera-Guardado (Male, 31 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Albert Villegas;
Law Office of Domingo Garcia, P.C.;
Dallas,
TX,
for
Carlos Rivera-Guardado ■ Ramon Gonzalez;
Law Office of Domingo Garcia, P.C.;
Dallas,
TX,
for
Carlos Rivera-Guardado

Defendant(s):

Tejanitos y Mas Inc.

Defense Attorney(s):

Derrick J. Hahn;
Hahn Law Firm;
Dallas,
TX,
for
Tejanitos y Mas Inc.

Facts:

On March 8, 2014, at about midnight, plaintiff Carlos Rivera-Guardado, 31, a laborer, sustained a skull fracture outside of La Oficina, a bar in Arlington owned and operated by Tejanitos y Mas Inc. Rivera-Guardado sued Tejanitos y Mas for the negligence of its bouncer, who he claimed struck him in the head with a police baton. Rivera-Guardado alleged that he was inside the bar with friends, watching a pay-per-view boxing match, when employees escorted him out for no reason. After taking him outside, the bouncer struck the left side of the plaintiff’s head with a baton, according to an eyewitness. The plaintiff had been drinking since the afternoon and had a blood alcohol concentration of .339 that night, but he denied that he was causing any problems inside the bar. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that he was not driving that night. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the bouncer was 90 percent responsible for the incident and the plaintiff was 10 percent responsible. The bar denied that Rivera-Guardado had been inside the bar at all that night. It claimed that he drunkenly came up to the bouncer in the parking lot and tried to hit him, and the bouncer pushed him away. When he did so, the plaintiff fell backward and hit his head, the defense argued. Plaintiff’s counsel countered that the bouncer and a security guard both told the investigating officer that the plaintiff had been starting fights inside the bar that night. Plaintiff’s counsel further argued that, if the plaintiff had fallen backward as the defense claimed, he would not have fractured the left side of his skull. The bouncer denied having a baton. Defense counsel argued that the plaintiff alone was at fault for the incident.

Injury:

Rivera-Guardado was taken by ambulance to the emergency room and was hospitalized for five weeks. He was diagnosed with a skull fracture, an intracranial hemorrhage, a subdural hematoma and a subarachnoid hematoma, as well as a scalp laceration and neck pain. He also claimed a closed head injury and a traumatic brain injury, with cognitive and memory problems and a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. He developed acute respiratory failure, was placed on a ventilator and underwent a tracheotomy. He developed acute pancreatitis, as well. He was in a coma for part of the time that he was in the hospital. After his discharge from the hospital, he followed up with a neurologist a few times. He followed up with a chiropractor for neck pain, but the chiropractor would not treat a patient who was still recovering from a severe head injury. The plaintiff’s wife said he was not the same since the incident. He returned to work, but only part-time. He sought $591,784.08 for past medical expenses. He also claimed past and future lost earning capacity, past and future physical pain and mental anguish, and past and future physical impairment. His attorneys asked for a total of $1.5 million.

Result:

The jury found negligence and comparative responsibility of 80 percent on the bar and 20 percent on the plaintiff and awarded the plaintiff $886,504.08. After the reduction for comparative responsibility, his damages were $709,203.26.

Carlos Rivera-Guardado: $591,784 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $80,000 Personal Injury: Future Physical Impairment; $72,384 Personal Injury: future lost earning capacity; $30,000 Personal Injury: past physical pain and mental anguish; $10,000 Personal Injury: future physical pain and mental anguish; $102,336 Personal Injury: past lost earning capacity

Actual Award:

$709,203.26

Trial Information:

Judge:

Donald Pierson

Trial Length:

2
 days

Trial Deliberations:

4
 hours

Jury Vote:

5-1

Jury Composition:

1 male/ 5 female

Post Trial:

The defense filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and, alternatively, a motion for new trial.

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel declined to contribute.