$20 Million Verdict Against Jack in the Box

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – A City Court jury ordered Jack in the Box restaurants to pay $20.5 million to a man who is permanently disabled from a beating in a parking lot 3 years ago.
     Ali Aziz, now 35, was beaten unconscious and spent more than a year in a coma after the June 20, 2012 assault. He has permanent brain damage and cannot walk or feed himself, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
     Aziz, through his mother Annette Brown, sued Jack in the Box in City Court in 2011. Aziz claimed the fast food giant failed to prevent the fight, poorly trained its employees and violated its own policies for dealing with disruptive customers.
     The actually returned a $25 million verdict against Jack in the Box after an eight-day civil trial. That was reduced to $20.5 million after the jury found Aziz to be 18 percent at fault for the attack.
     Four people – three men and a woman – pleaded guilty and have gone to prison for it.
     Earnest Carter, 22, was sentenced to 12 years in prison; Jasmine Jeffries, 22, to 15 years; Johnnie Lane, 33, to 5 years; and Rwoeshan Booker, 20, to 13 years, the Post-Dispatch reported.
     A Jack in the Box spokesman said the company is considering an appeal.
     “This tragic event could have been avoided had the plaintiff not provoked an altercation, and the evidence supporting that fact was overwhelming,” the restaurant told the Post-Dispatch. “We’re shocked and disappointed by the verdict and do not believe it was even remotely supported by the evidence.”

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