Untrained security guard knocks man to the ground, causing injury. $2.3M. Los Angeles County.

Summary

Merchant chases after teenage thieves who robbed his jewelry store but security guard at nearby property intervenes.

 

The Case

  • Case Name: Moas Khanian v. All Action Security Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / 20STCV24447
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, December 13, 2022
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, June 29, 2020
  • Type of Action: Negligence, Security
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michael B. Harwin
  • Plaintiffs:
    Moas Khanian, 68
  • Defendants:
    All Action Security Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $2,310,754
  • Net Verdict or Award: $2,208,254.
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    $2,208,254.00 as to defendant All Action Security Consulting Group, Inc.

  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 5% on third-party criminals; 95% on All Action Security Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical expenses: $145,754

    Future medical expenses: $115,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $850,000

    Future: $1,200,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: November 29, 2022 to December 13, 2022
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 hours
  • Jury Polls: 12-0

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Stalwart Law Group, APC by Brian Poulter, Los Angeles.

    Stalwart Law Group, APC by Dylan Ruga and Guillermo Barrantes, West Hollywood.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Tyson & Mendes by Ed Leonard and Anna Sasaki, Irvine. 

    Tyson & Mendes by Matthew Majd, La Jolla.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Richard Emmanuel, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Culver City.

  • Paul Kaloostian, M.D., neurosurgery.

    Ronald Kvitne, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Mark Mireles, security guard services standard of care.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Defendant All Action Security Consulting Group, Inc. employed a 20-year-old security guard with no training and no guard card to work a post at the Griffin (luxury apartment residence) in downtown Los Angeles.  On May 28, 2020, during his first week on the job, he intervened into a dispute on public property which was not a part of his post. His actions included body-slamming plaintiff (68 years old at the time) to the ground.

    The plaintiff had been chasing three unidentified teenagers who had entered his jewelry store in downtown Los Angeles. The three teenagers asked to see a pair of $300 diamond earrings. When plaintiff was distracted with other customers, one of the teenagers stole his merchandise, and the three teens left the store and ran down a nearby alley. Plaintiff chased after the three teenagers and was able to catch up to one young female. He can be seen on security camera footage grabbing the young girl's purse to retrieve his stolen property, as is his legal right under the shopkeeper's privilege/merchant act. The security guard saw the plaintiff take the young girl's purse and thought plaintiff was attempting to rob her despite the fact that the plaintiff repeatedly told the security guard that he was the victim of theft, that he had been stolen from, and that he wanted him to call the police.

    The security guard was assigned to a post at the Griffin and his sole job was to ensure that no one entered the parking lot for the apartment residence. The security guard ignored the plaintiff's request to call the police, and after a few minutes of physical contact/altercation and preventing the plaintiff from traveling freely in a public alleyway, the security guard body-slammed the plaintiff, causing severe injuries.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the plaintiff had a legal right to chase, detain, and investigate the crime that had just been perpetrated against him pursuant to Penal Code 490.5.

    That All Action Security was directly liable for plaintiff's harms because All Action Security knew that they sent an unlicensed security guard to work a post, which is a crime and negligence per se. That All Action Security was vicariously liable for its security guard's actions, which fell below the standard of care because security guards are only supposed to observe and report and/or call the police – none of which was done in this matter.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Pre-trial, the defense claimed that the security guard was not acting in the course and scope of his employment, and therefore, All Action Security was not liable.

    The insurance carrier did not pick up the defense of the individual security guard. On the first day of trial and after plaintiff's counsel had already given mini-opening, the defense admitted liability for the first time.

    Defendant security company claimed that plaintiff was also comparatively at fault for his injuries for making the decision to chase after the teenagers. That the teenage criminals were liable under a third-party liability theory for stealing from plaintiff, which set in motion the chain of events that ultimately led to his injuries.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Right knee: torn ACL, partially torn MCL, fracture to the lateral femoral condyle, Grade I and II sprains/strains to the LCL and PCL, joint effusion, etc. Client had PT, PRP injections, pain management, and arthroscopic knee surgery to remove loose body cartilage, to debride the PCL, and to perform channel incisions to generate recovery cartilage. Plaintiff's expert testified that he would need a partial knee replacement in the future.

    Low back: L4/L5 (4.5mm) & L5/S1 (7-8mm) disc herniations causing left-sided, severe compression and foraminal stenosis. Severe radicular pain down left side into left foot, numbness, partial drop foot, muscle weakness, and abnormal nerve conduction study. Client had PT, chiro, ESI injections (x2), two-level decompression surgery at L4/L5 and L5/S1. Plaintiff's expert testified that he would need a two-level fusion surgery in the future.

    Defense expert Kvitne agreed that all of plaintiff's past medical treatment for the knee was reasonable, necessary, and 100% causally related to the incident. He disputed the need for a future partial knee replacement. Defense expert Kaloostian testified that plaintiff's lower back injury/pain was unrelated to the incident because he was 68 years old with DDD, and that he did not complain of any issues to the back until three months after the incident in question. He testified that he would have required the same surgery regardless of the body slam despite the fact that plaintiff had no history of prior back injuries or pain and was asymptomatic on the day in question.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $145,754.00
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $195,000.00

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,000,000 (policy limit) in March 2022.
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $250,000 in November 2022.

Additional Notes

Prejudgment interest totals $220,825.40 per year until the satisfaction of the judgment.