CBS Corp. was ordered Tuesday to collectively pay $10 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.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury of seven women and five men deliberated for a little more than half a day before finding in favor of the family members of 52-year-old Julio Villamariona, who was killed on Feb. 9, 2011. The panel awarded $4 million to his widow, Zoila Villamariona, and $2 million to each of his offspring.
The plaintiffs showed little reaction as the verdict was read. Outside the courtroom, they said they continue to grieve over the death of their father.
“No one will understand the emptiness we feel,” said 29-year-old Yasmin Garcia, the second oldest of Villamariona’s children.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Brian Panish had recommended a total award of up to $30 million. He said his clients accept the verdict and are happy to achieve a resolution of their case.
CBS attorney Dana Alden Fox said in his final argument Monday that the plaintiffs were deserving of damages, but not as much as Panish sought on their behalf. He said jurors should award $1 million to the widow and $500,000 each to the daughters.
Villamariona 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, which 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.
Zoila Villamariona, 55, and her daughters — Garcia, Marcela Villamariona, 33, and Ivania Villamariona, 27 — sued CBS Corp. and Blunt in July 2012.
Both sides agreed before trial that Blunt was negligent and that the plaintiffs were entitled to $450,000 in lost income. The trial was held to determine their loss of relationship damages, including the guidance and companionship Villamariona provided to his wife and daughters.
— City News Service