A 43-year-old house painter was awarded $58 million in compensation after a beating he sustained at a Los Angeles bar left half of his skull permanently caved in.
Antonio Lopez Chaj, who can no longer speak, filed suit against a security company. On Friday, Torrance Superior Court gave Chaj one of the largest damage awards ever handed down in California his lawyers said in a news conference Monday.
The attack took place at a Wiltshire bar in April 2010. Chaj was allegedly trying to intervene in an altercation his two relatives were having with a Barra Latina bartender and a security guard.
Chaj’s attorneys said the unlicensed security guard, Emerson Quintanilla, who worked for DGSP Security and Patrol Services, beat Chaj with a baton, kicked him in the head eight times and smashed his skull four times into the pavement.
“It was truly a horrendous and brutal beating by a guy who shouldn’t have been working at all,” said attorney Federico Sayre, who represented Chaj along with Fernando Chavez.
Chaj also appeared at the news conference, but had to be supported by relatives. When he removed the baseball cap that hides his caved skull, gasps could be heard, New York Daily News reported.
“His skull is like a pie with 25 percent cut out of it,” Sayre said. "Part of Mr. Chaj’s skull was gone when he reached the hospital.”
The bartender and Quintanilla have since disappeared, Sayre said.
The court heard that Chaj still has more surgery to undergo in the future. The jury ruled unainimously for the plaintiff.
“They saved his life but he has significant brain damage," Sayre said. "He can’t speak and he requires 24-hour nursing care.”
Sayre believes the security company will appeal the ruling.