A former co-owner of the Mexican restaurant Cinco in Westchester is seeking default judgments against Bryce Hall and a social media collaborator of the TikTok star, saying both have ignored his lawsuit alleging they assaulted and battered him during a brawl at the eatery in 2020 after he asked them to stop vaping.
Attorneys for plaintiff Hernan Fernando filed court papers in December in Los Angeles Superior Court asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensatory damages plus punitive damages and attorneys’ fees from the 23-year-old Hall and co-defendant Robert “Rory” Fitzpatrick. Fernando also says his medical damages are just over $9,000. He sued the two men in April 2021.
But in a sworn declaration filed on Friday in support of his motion to halt the default process, Hall says he was not served with the complaint at his current home in Sherman Oaks until Dec. 7, a day after Fernando’s attorneys filed their court papers seeking a default judgment.
“I understand that Mr. Fernando contends I was served in this action prior to Dec. 7,” Hall says. “However, I do not recall receiving service prior to that date and do not believe such service occurred.”
Hall disputes the assertions of a process server who contends that he personally served the defendant with the lawsuit documents in June 2021 at one of Hall’s previous addresses.
“I do not recall receiving any such documents around that time,” Hall says. “I would have recalled being served since I have been served in other legal actions. I understand and take seriously the impact of being served with a lawsuit.”
Hall further says that when he received the complaint at his current address, he acted accordingly.
“I read the documents and contacted my business manager,” Hall says. “I quickly engaged counsel to respond to this lawsuit in light of the seriousness of the allegations against me.”
A hearing on Hall’s motion is scheduled on May 11 before Judge Kerry Bensinger.
In his lawsuit, Fernando says he took a dangerous amount of opiod pills one evening to deal with his pain and maintains that Hall should pay at least another $500,000 in punitive damages. He also accuses the influencer of racism, saying Hall chided him when he spoke in Spanish and derided his Latino heritage.
“Being a part-owner of Cinco and owning my own business in Los Angeles was the culmination of my American dream and the embodiment of my life’s work,” Fernando says in a sworn declaration in support of the default judgment. “I considered it my greatest professional achievement and took immense pride in being a co-developer and co-owner of such an establishment.”
Hall, Fitzpatrick and two of their companions arrived at Cinco in the late afternoon of Oct. 19, 2020, and Fernando seated them outside due to coronavirus restrictions, according to the plaintiff.
“I noticed that all four men were acting a little exuberant and loud,” Fernando says, adding that Hall mimicked him after he spoke in Spanish to the eatery’s hostess.
Fernando says he asked the four to leave after they ignored demands they stop vaping.
“In response to my request that they leave, Hall pulled out his vape pen, took a hit and blew smoke into my face,” Fernando says. “Although I was frustrated, irritated and concerned by Hall’s conduct, especially given that we were in the midst of a pandemic, I remained calm, told Hall it was time to go and attempted to direct him towards the exit.”
While he was escorting the group out, according to Fernando, Fitzpatrick began punching him and Hall grabbed the plaintiff on the front of his shirt, causing all three to fall to the floor.
“I was repeatedly punched by both Hall and Fitzpatrick as I lay face down,” Fernando says. “I was in pain and shocked by the attack, but I threw no punches.”
Fernando says that before he could rise, Hall jumped on his back and began choking him by putting an arm around the plaintiff’s neck.
“I tried to push Hall’s elbows back to get him to stop choking me, but that did not work,” Fernando says. “I felt like I was about to pass out when a Cinco food runner, Pedro Lopez, pulled Hall’s arm off my neck.”
Fernando says he suffered a broken hand, bruised face, pain from being punched in the ribs as well as neck and back injuries caused by Hall violently pulling his neck into a chokehold. Fernando further says he heard Hall screaming that he was rich and had lawyers who could get him out of any trouble.
Hall yelled at Fernando, “I’m from Bel Air and you’re just a fat Mexican who works at a restaurant,” according to the plaintiff.
Fernando says he took more than 12 days off after the incident to attend doctor visits, receive various medical care and treatments and to rest “because of the extreme pain that I was in” from his injuries.
“To help manage my pain, my medical team prescribed me an opioid medication which not only affected my ability to drive and conduct business,” Fernando says.
One evening in a low moment, Fernando says, he took an entire bottle of about six to eight opiod pills and passed out.
“I had never done anything like that before and, in that moment, I wanted the pills to take me out of the pain and depression,” Fernando says.
Fernando says he went through a “very dark period of time” after the attack that extended beyond his depression.
“I could not sleep for weeks after the attack,” Fernando says. “Those feelings of loneliness and sadness stayed with me for months. I constantly replay in my head how Hall and Fitzpatrick attacked me physically, Hall’s racist taunts to me and the way my staff was treated and threatened by him.”
Fernando says he remained a co-owner of Cinco until last August.
In media reports, Hall said during an interview that the fight started when someone at the restaurant tried to drag him from the premises. He further said that he acted to protect one of his friends and that he was kicked in the groin during the melee.