CBS should collectively pay up to $30 million in damages to the widow and three daughters of a security guard killed in a freak accident near the set of “NCIS” in Santa Clarita three years ago, an attorney told a jury Monday.
In his closing argument to the seven-woman, five-man Los Angeles Superior Court panel, lawyer Brian Panish said the amount would properly compensate his four clients for the Feb. 9, 2011, death of Julio Villamariona.
CBS attorney Dana Alden Fox countered that the plaintiffs are deserving of damages, but not as much as their attorney is seeking on their behalf. He said jurors should collectively award no more than $2.5 million by giving $1 million to the widow and $500,000 each to the daughters.
Villamariona, 52, was in a “base camp” parking lot for the television show when he was hit by a 15-passenger 2006 Ford E-350 van driven by CBS employee Ralph Blunt, who was shuttling actors and crew members from the parking lot to the “NCIS” set.
Blunt, then 60, passed out and lost control of the vehicle, according to the CBS attorneys’ court papers. The van hit Villamariona, a tree and finally two parked cars at the bottom of an embankment. The longtime Reseda resident died in an ambulance en route to a hospital.
His 55-year-old widow, Zoila, and three children — Marcela Villamariona, 33, Ivania Villamariona, 27, and 29-year-old Yasmara Garcia — sued CBS and Blunt in July 2012.
Panish recommended that the widow be awarded $15 million and the daughters $5 million each.
Both sides agreed before trial that Blunt was negligent and that the plaintiffs are entitled to $450,000 in lost income. The trial is being held to determine their loss of relationship damages, including the guidance and companionship Villamariona provided to his wife and daughters.
Villamariona lost his left eye to a tumor when he was 4 years old in his native El Salvador. In today’s final testimony, Ivania Villamariona said her father had a philosophy that people should be judged from the inside and not by their outward appearances.
She said she and her mother were the first members of the family to leave El Salvador. The two of them lived in Atlanta, where her mother worked as a nanny, she said.
She said she looked forward to going to the U.S. where “I was finally going to meet Mickey Mouse.”
The two of them eventually rejoined the rest of the family in Reseda.
“My father was very excited he finally had all of the family together,” she said.
— City News Service