Joshua Mathews sat at the law firm of Pajcic and Pajcic on Monday, silenced by a brain injury he suffered at Pete’s Bar in Neptune Beach during 2012.
Attorney Michael Pajcic said a jury recently arrived at a verdict for nearly $19 million after someone punched 34-year-old Mathews, causing his head to hit the ground. He now endures vision loss and paralysis on the right side of his body.
On July 22, 2012, one man became involved in a shouting match with a group of five other people outside the bar at 117 First St., Pajcic said. Another man arrived to back up his lone friend and a brawl soon unfolded.
Mathews’ life changed forever after he tried to break up a fight he can no longer remember. The blow to Mathews’ head left him in a coma for two months, and he now finds it hard to respond in conversations, Pajcic said.
The court placed 60 percent of the responibility on Jensens Liquor Store Inc., the owner of Pete’s Bar, and 40 percent on Mathews, which will cause the verdict to be reduced.
Pajcic said the Neptune Beach Police Department recorded statements from two employees who revealed what happened that pivotal Sunday night.
Defense attorneys for the bar said Mathews was drunk and negligent, and his choice to get involved in a risky situation made him at least 50 percent responsible for the injuries, according to court records.
The bar, Mathews’ attorney argued in his complaint, failed to provide security cameras outside or security guards anywhere on the property. His attorneys also said the bar failed to properly train its employees.
The bar’s attorneys could not be reached for comment.
The money awarded is for Mathews’ pain and suffering, along with his past and future medical expenses and lost earnings.
“Hopefully this will go towards helping him get as much therapy and recovery as possible,” Pajcic said.
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