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California Verdicts

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Suit: Hitman hired to murder former restaurant owner

Amount:

$45,125,008

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

California

Venue:

Santa Clara County

Court:

Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Los Gatos

Injury Type(s):

other-death; other-gunshot wound; other-loss of consortium

Case Type:

Wrongful Death

Case Name:

Michelle Achilli and Alexandra Achilli v. Esquiel "Paul" Garcia, Daniel Chaidez, Miguel Chaidez, Lucio Estrada, and Robert Jacome, No. 2010-1-CV-166426

Date:

December 14, 2016

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Michelle Achilli (Female, 50 Years), 

Alexandra Achilli (Female, 28 Years), 

Estate of Mark Achilli (Male, 53 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Ram Fletcher; Bohn & Fletcher, LLP; San Jose, CA, for Michelle Achilli, Alexandra Achilli, Estate of Mark Achilli

Defendant(s):

Lucio Estrada, 

Robert Jacome, 

Daniel Chaidez, 

Miguel Chaidez, 

Esquiel "Paul" Garcia

Defense Attorney(s):

None reported; for Lucio Estrada, Robert Jacome, Daniel Chaidez, Miguel Chaidez ■ Esquiel "Paul" Garcia; pro se; for Esquiel "Paul" Garcia

Facts:

On March 14, 2008, plaintiff's decedent Mark Achilli, 53, was shot and killed outside of his home in Los Gatos. The police ultimately arrested Lucio Estrada and charged him with the murder of Achilli. During the course of their investigation, it was discovered that Esquiel "Paul" Garcia had allegedly hired Estrada to kill Achilli. In May 2012, Garcia and Estrada were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Achilli's wife, Michelle Achilli, and his daughter, Alexandra Achilli, sued Garcia, Estrada, and others who were allegedly linked to Mark Achilli's murder, Daniel Chaidez, Miguel Chaidez and Robert Jacome. The decedent's family alleged that the defendants were liable for Mark Achilli's wrongful death. Prior to trial, in August 2012, Michelle Achilli was killed in a motor vehicle collision. Thus, she was dismissed from the case, and the matter proceeded to trial with Alexandra Achilli's claims only. Plaintiff's counsel argued that Garcia was the mastermind of a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Counsel contended that Mark Achilli had sold Garcia two restaurants nine months prior to the murder and that Garcia's motive in the killing stemmed from his jealousy of a relationship Mark Achilli was having with a bartender at the restaurant that he previously owned. March Achilli was separated from his wife at the time, and counsel contended that Garcia wanted a relationship with the bartender that Mark Achilli was dating. Plaintiff's counsel contended that Garcia told Daniel Chaidez, who was a bouncer at the bar, to locate a hit man to murder Mark Achilli and that Daniel Chaidez contacted his cousin, Miguel Chaidez, to arrange the hit. Thus, counsel contended that Miguel Chaidez ultimately hired Estrada to act as the hitman. Garcia generally denied the allegations against him. Estrada, Daniel Chaidez, Miguel Chaidez, and Jacome did not answer the complaint, and default judgments were issued against them.

Injury:

Mark Achilli sustained gunshot wounds to his head and chest. He ultimately died at the scene of the shooting. Mark Achilli's daughter, Alexandra Achilli, sought recovery of compensatory damages for her loss of love, affection, companionship, society, guidance, and financial support as a result of the death of her father.

Result:

The jury determined that the Alexandra Achilli's damages totaled $45,125,008.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Drew Takaichi

Trial Length:

3  days

Trial Deliberations:

2  hours

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. The defendants were not asked to contribute.