Multi-million dollar jury award in Florida brain injury lawsuit

A jury awarded $18 million to a Florida man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a bar fight.

Joshua Mathews suffered brain injuries after a 2012 altercation at Pete’s Bar in Neptune Beach, Florida. Mathews fell and hit his head on the cement after being punched in the face. He filed a lawsuit against the corporation that owns the bar, alleging that there was inadequate security and bouncers encouraged the fight.

After the fight, Mathews was in a coma for two months. He is in rehabilitation and has trouble speaking. According to his attorney, Mathews has vision loss and paralysis on his right side, and also suffers from aphasia, weakness and fatigue. Mathews has to be monitored around the clock, with his family using video cameras to check on his condition even while they are at work, his attorney said. The award will allow Mathews to participate in an aphasia program to help with his speaking and allow him greater freedom of movement.

At trial in Duval County circuit court, earlier police incident reports were introduced as evidence. Mathews’ attorney said that other bars had off-duty police officers standing out front and Pete’s Bar did not. He said that a bar’s duty to its patrons extends outside its premises, and the bar was negligent in failing to provide adequate security.