As we reported in 2005:
On December 22, 2000, 15-year-old Michael Foradori Jr. walked into a Captain D’s seafood restaurant in Tupelo, Mississippi for dinner; while there, he started flirting with the girlfriend of one of the employees, which resulted in a shouting match. “‘This (employee) was kind of picking on him, he started threatening him, he even hit him with a wadded up paper,’ said Joey Langston, Foradori’s attorney.” (More on Langston at Point of Law, May 13.) A manager restored order by kicking everyone out of the restaurant; outside, a cook who clocked out for the evening got into an altercation with Foradori, and pushed him over a wall, breaking his neck and paralyzing him.
Langston has since pled guilty to bribing a state judge in a different case; he’ll have some money to comfort him when he leaves prison, as he obtained a $20.8 million verdict in the Foradori case on the theory that, if only the restaurant had better trained its cook not to sucker-punch customers half his size, Foradori wouldn’t have been paralyzed, presumably because the threat of being fired from a minimum-wage job would’ve done what criminal sanctions would not. (Captain D’s didn’t fire the cook, Garious Harris. It is unknown whether fear of race discrimination suits had anything to do with that. Captain D’s appears to have also suffered from some questionable tactical choices by their attorneys.) The Fifth Circuit has affirmed the verdict, its hands tied to some extent by ludicrous Mississippi state law and Erie. Folo commenters speculate on the means of Langston’s success.
We hadn’t previously mentioned that the parties also sued the contractor who built the wall.