Former 'Laguna Beach' star Jason Wahler loses civil battery case
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/06/2008
Jason Wahler's alleged altercation with a tow-truck driver will leave his wallet a little lighter.
A Los Angeles jury has ordered the formerLaguna Beach star to pay driver Dario Stevenson $5,000 for a September 2006 altercation, E! News reported Thursday.
Stevenson -- who is black -- had alleged that he was "roughed up" by the former Laguna Beach star in during a verbal and physical altercation that began after a car Wahler was traveling in was blocked by Stevenson's tow truck as he was attempting to impound another vehicle.
Wahler eventually plead no contest to one count of battery and received a two-month jail sentence that was later converted into a rehab stint, however Stevenson and Los Angeles City Traffic Officer Jonathan Wallace both ended up filing civil lawsuits over the altercation.
Lawyers for both Wahler and Stevenson are still attempting to settle the pending punitive-damage award for Stevenson, however Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Grimes has placed a $45,000 cap on it, according to E! News.
Although the cap is nine times the amount of the compensatory damages determined by the eight-woman, four-man jury, it is still substantially less than the $1 million Stevenson originally sought.
"Hell yes, I'm disappointed," Stevenson's lawyer Daniel Wagner told reporters of the case's outcome, E! News reported.
In addition, Wagner hinted at potential juror bias by noting that none of the jurors were black, according to E! news.
Wahler still faces the separate pending lawsuit from Wallace, who accused Wahler of assault, battery and violating his civil rights.