November 6, 2014, 10:30:00AM. By The National Trial Lawyers
The survivors of 52-year old security guard were awarded $10.5 million after he was killed by a CBS van that was transporting passengers.
CBS Pays .5M to Survivors of Guard Killed on NCIS SetJulio Vilamariona had emigrated from San Salvador, El Salvador, in hopes of providing a better future for his wife and three daughters.
Villamariona was securing the set of the CBS detective show NCIS. The driver of a 15-passenger van, Ralph Blunt, was transporting employees at CBS studios, when he passed out and crashed into Villamariona, killing him instantly.
CBS admits, then denies liability
At the outset of the case, CBS issued an apology statement addressing the friends and family of the victim, and showing its sincere condolences. However, when it came time to defend the case, CBS changed its agenda.
At trial, CBS asserted that the driver’s medical emergency was completely out of its control, therefore, making it not liable for the accident or the death. A few days before the trial began, CBS had “admitted that they were the sole party responsible for the death,” according to plaintiff attorney Brian Panish.
But when it came to trial, it denied all claims of liability.
Plaintiffs attorneys Panish Shea & Boyle proved that CBS was liable for its employee’s negligence. CBS attorney Dana Alden Fox in his closing argument stated, “the plaintiffs are deserving of damages, but not as much as Panish was seeking on their behalf.” However, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs granting them $10.5 million.
The family was grateful for the amount they received in damages however, but Villamariona’s oldest daughter said, “No one will understand the emptiness we feel.”
Attorney Panish stated, “I am so proud of the surviving family members and the jury for standing up to a powerful entity like CBS.”