LOS ANGELES (AFP) - An undocumented migrant who suffered horrific injuries in a savage beating by a bouncer has been awarded US$58 million (S$73.8 million), one of the largest ever payouts by a California court, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Antonio Lopez Chaj, 43, was left severely brain damaged and lost roughly 25 per cent of his skull after having his head crushed by a bouncer at a Los Angeles-area bar in April 2010.
Mr Federico Sayre, a lawyer for Chaj, said his client had been struck on the head with a baton before having his skull repeatedly smashed into the ground.
"The incident left Mr Chaj suffering permanent and profound neurological injuries that will require life-long care and reconstructive surgery of his skull," Mr Sayre said in a statement. Mr Chaj has lost his ability to speak and requires 24-hour medical care as a result of the attack.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury in Torrance awarded Chaj US$11.5 million to pay for future medical costs, US$35 million for pain and suffering already endured and US$11 million for future pain and suffering.
Sayre said the security firm sued by Mr Chaj was expected to appeal the award, raising the possibility of the case eventually being settled by mediation.
According to Mr Chaj's lawsuit, the bouncer responsible for the beating - who has disappeared - had received no training and was not authorised to carry and use a baton.
Another of Mr Chaj's attorneys, John De Leon, noted that at the time of the attack his client, a painter, was an undocumented worker.
"This verdict for the injuries suffered by a then-undocumented immigrant highlights that just juries are prepared to compensate injured parties, regardless of immigration status, fully," he said.
"It is a great day for the American justice system."