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Legal Speak

$12.7 Million Verdict Awarded

Gary Holt & Connie Grace obtained a total verdict of $12,771,000 in a premises security case on October 29, 2015, in Little Rock.  The verdict included a $2,771,000 verdict in compensatory damages against Park Plaza Mall, CMBS, LLC, and its security company, ERMC II, LP, Tristan Bryant, and Deonte Edison in favor of the Estate of Christian Ellis Hayes, deceased.   A  twelve-member Pulaski County jury found that the corporate defendants’ negligent conduct was equal to that of each of the two individuals who were convicted in 2014 for Hayes’ February 28, 2013 murder and aggravated robbery of the Sbarro restaurant after the mall had closed for business.    The jury considered evidence including an unlocked door leading to the outside of the mall behind Sbarro and other restaurants; unmonitored video surveillance, and knowledge that Bryant had previously entered the store after the mall closed and was suspected of theft at the time and claims for negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention of personnel on duty the night of the murder.   The jury also assessed punitive damages of $10,000,000 against Tristan Bryant and Deonte Edison.        

Gary Holt & Associates, P.A. was honored to represent Hayes’ mother, Kimberly Marie Powell of Manhattan, who represented Hayes’ Estate.  She and Myon Zimbalist Hayes, of Chicago now have proof that their son, as an employee of a tenant of the mall, was entitled to reasonable safety at the mall where he worked.  Christian Hayes was age 25.

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