A Las Vegas jury had already decided that the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino’s Marquee nightclub owed David Moradi $160.5 million after security staff attacked him and left him with a traumatic brain injury in 2012. But that was just for compensatory damages — the amount needed to make Moradi whole after medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Moradi was also seeking punitive damages (designed to punish and deter bad behavior), to the tune of another $483 million.
How much of either kind of damages he’ll get will remain unknown, however, since Moradi has since settled with the Marquee for an undisclosed sum.
According his 2014 lawsuit, Moradi, who claims he was a VIP guest at the club, had already paid a $10,000 tab when a manager and security officers forced him into a security room and demanded identification and credit card. Marquee’s attorneys say there was a problem with Moradi’s signature on the bill, but his lawsuit accuses staff of going far beyond asking for his John Hancock:
“The Marquee security members and manager shoved David to the ground, causing his head to forcefully hit the concrete surface … The Marquee security members and manager repeatedly hit and smashed David’s head into the concrete and continually held his head and right eye against the concrete with a high degree of pressure … Still pressing his head to the concrete, they asked, ‘Are you going to cooperate and give your ID back?’ Believing he could be killed, David agreed in order to end the violent attack.”
At the time, Moradi was managing a $1 billion hedge fund and pulling in about $11 million a year. Since, his hedge fund ultimately closed his doors and he has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.
It’s no stretch to say that the settlement amount was somewhere between the $160.5 million Moradi would already be owed and the more than $640 million he was asking for in total. And while it’s certainly true that Marque might have reduced the jury award on appeal, that doesn’t seem likely based on jurors interviews after the settlement was announced.
“I would have given him everything,” juror Sara Sanguinetti said, “the way we saw the evidence.” Attorneys for the nightclub had argued that the hundred million dollar award they already owned would have “financially annihilated” the company, but jurors appear to be unconvinced. “There’s no way,” Sanguinetti told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “They can pay that. It’s not going to put a hole in them at all until you get to a certain amount, and they deserve to be pinched a little bit.”
While Sanguinetti also told the paper jurors were prepared to give Moradi around $49 million in punitive damages on top of his compensatory award, there’s little likelihood of the actual price of the lawsuit ever being made public.
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