Sunday, February 8, 2015 – 11:00 a.m.
The long-awaited punitive damages trial for Plaintiff Leonard Epps has been set for April 13, 2015.
Epps, the former manager of the now defunct Brass Key Lounge, in Highland, has the displeasure of having a hit placed on him by the Mexican Mafia, at the behest of San Manuel Tribal Members Stacey Nunez-Barajas and Erick Barajas. Both are siblings.
In 2008, both defendants struck plea deals with local prosecutors to avoid lengthy prison terms. Nunez-Barajas was eventually sent to state prison for violating her 15-year probation. She remains incarcerated today.
On July 18, 2013, a San Bernardino jury awarded Epps more than $4.5 million in compensatory damages. However a mistrial was declared, in the punitive damages phase of the case, due to the lose of a juror. The juror lose reduced the panel below the minimum number required by law.
Since that time, the case has dragged along with plaintiff motions for sanctions, defense motions for recusal of the judge, change of venue, etc., etc….
Reportedly, Epps has refused to drop the punitive damages phase, citing the fact that he must remain in fear for his life, forever.
A jury could legally award Epps upwards of seven to ten times the compensatory award.
The jury trial duration is expected to be two to four weeks.