Superior Court of San Francisco
Client was charged with felony assault and allegations of causing great bodily injury. This is a strike offense in California. Client is a high profile civil attorney from Chicago who was in San Francisco for vacation with his wife and daughter. After watching the USC/Stanford game at a local sports bar with the USC Alumni Association, the family tried to catch a cab back to their hotel. The client stepped into Shang Hai Kelly's saloon to use the restroom. He was immediately confronted by a drunk patron and his friends who began to verbally abuse and profanely ridicule him. This was all because he was wearing USC regalia. As he was leaving the bar the drunk patron and one of his friends confronted the client again and threatened to "kick his ass." The client grabbed a beer glass and smashed it into the face of one of the drunks and punched the other sending him to the floor. As he tried to leave the area, both he and his family were followed by the drunk and 4 of his friends. They assaulted the client in the street punching and kicking him in the head. The drunk suffered over 100 stitches to his face from the beer glass. The client suffered brain injury and cracked ribs. San Francisco Police reviewed the surveillance video from the bar and determined that the client had delivered the first blow. He was arrested and charged with strike felonies. The drunk retained a civil lawyer who threatened suit. The case proceeded to preliminary exam where an aggressive posture of self-defense was presented. The client's wife and daughter described how he was savagely beaten by 5 men in the street. The drunk patron denied doing any assault to the client and claimed he only said "Boo USC" at the bar. At the close of the preliminary exam the court found that this was a case of mutual combat and that the client had a right to defend himself.