A Southern California jury awarded $40 million to the parents of a man who was stabbed to death in a TGI Friday’s restaurant.
The panel found that the restaurant’s operator was 55 percent responsible for the January 2009 death at a TGI Friday’s in Riverside.
Orlando Jordan, 33, of Riverside, was dating the mother of Michael Castillo, who disapproved. He was stabbed during an argument with Castillo, who entered the restaurant with a friend.
Castillo and Louis Martinez pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. Castillo was sentenced to three years in state prison, and Martinez was sentenced to four years.
Castillo was 20 at the time of the killing, making him under the legal drinking age. Jordan’s parents, Rey and Carmen Jordan, argued that employees deliberately failed to check Castillo’s identification before serving him and continued to give him alcohol despite his intoxication.
“This case is about holding corporations responsible for their reckless decisions to value profits over community safety,” Nicholas Rowley, an attorney who represented Jordan’s mother, said in a statement.
Castillo ordered the equivalent of 12 alcohol servings in 30 minutes, Rowley told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
The lawsuit also cited a pattern of assaults at the restaurant and a lack of security cameras.
The Riverside County Superior Court jury agreed that employees served alcohol to Castillo even though he obviously was drunk. It found New Jersey-based Briad Restaurant Group to be 55 percent responsible for Jordan’s death.
The two attackers were found to be 45 percent responsible.
“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers continue for the Jordan family,” Rick Barbrick, Briad’s president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “At Friday’s, we remain committed to serving all guests in a safe and responsible manner which is consistent with our mission, high standards and core values.”
The company did not indicate whether it intended to appeal the jury’s decision.
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