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By Dana Littlefield
The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO - A Superior Court jury has awarded more than $11 million in damages to man who suffered brain injuries when he was knocked to the ground by a San Diego police officer in 2006.
Pablo Gomez, 28, fractured his skull in the incident in the Gaslamp Quarter. He sued the city of San Diego and Officer Joseph DeVeaux last year for negligence and battery.
Because the jury determined the city was negligent and bore most of the responsibility for Gomez's injuries, it is required to pay the bulk of the damages, about $8 million.
The panel determined that Gomez was 30 percent responsible, which reduces the total amount he is owed.
A city official said yesterday that the case will probably be appealed.
This is the second time the case was tried in Superior Court. A jury in the first trial, which started in June, determined that DeVeaux did not batter Gomez but was negligent.
That jury split 7-5 in favor of the city on the question of whether the officer's negligence caused harm to Gomez. In civil cases, a minimum of nine jurors is required to reach a verdict.
Judge Frederic Link declared a mistrial.
The second trial began Aug. 21 and focused on the issue of negligence. That jury deliberated about a day and a half before reaching its verdict Monday.
Gomez's lawyer, Mike Marrinan, who tried the case with attorney J. Jude Basile, said yesterday that he believes the verdict was fair. But he noted that Gomez's personal struggles are far from over.
"For this family, there is nothing to celebrate because their son still has permanent brain damage," Marrinan said.
According to court documents, Gomez - then a 26-year-old file clerk at a legal firm - was walking to his car with two friends on Jan. 4, 2006, when they were approached by a pair of intoxicated men. A fight broke out between the groups at Market Street and Third Avenue.
When DeVeaux arrived in his patrol car, Gomez was moving away from the fight. The officer ran after him and yelled for him to stop.
Within seconds, Gomez stopped and turned to face the officer. DeVeaux ran into Gomez, knocking him down.
Gomez struck his head on the pavement and fractured his skull.
At one point, Gomez had to use a wheelchair and could not speak. He has undergone three brain surgeries and can now walk and talk, but is still unable to work, Marrinan said.
Attorneys from a Los Angeles-based firm represented the city during the trial. They contended that Gomez ran after the officer ordered everyone to drop to the ground. They also noted that Gomez's blood-alcohol content was 0.14 percent.
Don Shanahan, a deputy city attorney, said yesterday that this was "an unfortunate incident" and that the injuries to Gomez were "horrific." However, he said the city respectfully disagrees with the verdict.
"The young man got hurt as a consequence of his actions," Shanahan said, adding that Gomez was intoxicated and that the officer was fulfilling his duties by chasing him.

Wire Service
 

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Shit I thought this was going to be about injuries resulting from arrest.

He runs from the police and then decides to stop abruptly so that the cop chasing him accidentally hits him, and it's the City's fault? Lawyers suck
 
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