When Antonio Lopez Chaj took his hat off at a press conference this week, the audience gasped. A big piece of the left side of his head appeared to be missing, as if it was sliced off.
Chaj, the victim of a horrible beating in a bar that left his skull permanently bashed in, literally indented, was awarded $58 million by a California jury a week ago, one of the biggest damage verdicts ever given to a single individual in the state, according to the Associated Press.
Chaj, 43, suffered traumatic brain injury from an incident April 10, 2010, at the Barra Latina on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Because of his brain damage, he cannot speak now, and he had to be physically supported by his relatives at the press conference announcing his verdict, AP reported.
The jury verdict was against a security firm, DGSP Security and Patrol Services, that hired the unlicensed and untrained guard who brutally beat Chaj, a house painter who tried to help two of his relatives during a bar brawl, according to AP.
Chaj, his brother and two nephews had gone to the bar, and one of the relatives got into an argument with the bartender-manager of Barra Latina. The manager and security guard Emerson Quintanilla began hitting members of the group, and Chaj tried to break things up, telling the two men to stop beating his nephews.
Chaj’s thanks for trying to be peace maker was that the guard hit him “with a baton, kicked him in the head eight times and smashed his skull against the pavement four times,” AP wrote. Part of his skull was gone before he got to the hospital, according to AP.