Case Study: Personal Accident / Injuries

Crime Victim - Shooting | $21.5 Million Judgement

Case Facts

  • Shortly after midnight on January 1, 2018, our client helped to break up a fight between two women while in a bar in Prineville, Oregon . Shortly thereafter, the boyfriend of one of the women exited the bar, retrieved a handgun from his truck, reentered the bar, and approached the group. Just as our client had finished peacefully breaking up the altercation, the boyfriend shot our client several times in the back. Notably, the shooter had not been drinking nor using drugs at the time of the shooting.

  • Our client suffered multiple injuries in the shooting, including damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and other soft tissue of the thorax, abdomen, internal organs, thoracic spine, lumbar region, and his right arm. The gunshot wounds shattered his L1 and L2 vertebrae, causing complete paralysis of the bladder, bowel, pelvis, and legs. He spent four months in the hospital, nearly dying several times from blood clots, organ failure, and infection. To date, he’s had 16 surgeries and continues to suffer from severe pain and emotional distress.

    DWC Actions

    In December 2019, we filed a lawsuit against the shooter for $21.5 million for compensation for medical injuries and complications stemming from the shooting, which left our client paralyzed from the waist down. The shooter was criminally charged, and was sentenced to a 6.5 year prison sentence for first-degree assault through a negotiated plea deal.

    Key Successes

    Unfortunately, the shooter refused to cooperate in the litigation. This made things quite difficult to move forward in any fashion, including discovery. However, thankfully, local law enforcement did an excellent job investigating the crime and documenting their findings. As a result, our legal team, spearheaded by Tim Williams, petitioned the court to enter a default judgment against the non-cooperating defendant. After nearly five months of pleadings with the court, it ultimately awarded our client $21.5 million in compensatory damages against the shooter, with a 9% interest rate for any unpaid balance from the date of the judgment through the date of payment.

    Testimonial

    “This injury is about as bad as they get. Our client, who is about the nicest guy you will ever meet, was senselessly shot as he was attempting to break up an altercation at a bar between two women. All he was trying to do is help, yet he paid a grave price for his altruism. Once a very active man who worked hard and played hard with his kids is now left bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. It is sad on epic proportions.”

    “The Court’s award represents all the civil justice system is able to provide – monetary relief for devastating and life-altering injuries. While no amount of money is worth the suffering our client has gone through and will continue to go through for the rest of his life, it is the only recourse available to those injured by the senseless acts of others. To the extent any of the judgment can be recovered from the shooter, it will help our client and his family maintain some semblance of their former life.”

    - Tim Williams