The jury in New Haven reached the verdict Thursday in favor of Monte Freire and against the restaurant, U.S.S. Chowder Pot III, in Branford, attorneys for both sides said. Bartenders ignored warnings that the Yankees fan was harassing fellow patrons and trying to start a fight and continued to serve him alcohol, said attorney Timothy Pothin, representing Freire.
"We're grateful that the jury was very attentive. They understood our case and held the Chowder Pot responsible for its employees' negligence," Pothin said. "Perhaps this will provide a lesson to other bars and nightclubs in our community and their insurance carriers who continue to maintain untenable positions in cases of clear negligence."
Freire, 45, suffered life-altering injuries, including a brain injury, a stroke, impaired speech and vision and severe scarring, Pothin said.
The Yankees fan, John Mayor, was convicted of assault and is serving a 10-year prison sentence.
Mayor told Freire, of Nashua, N.H., and his friends that based on their accents he believed they were Red Sox fans and declared it was Yankees territory and they weren't welcome, Pothin said. Mayor continued to harass them before the unprovoked attack, he said.
The restaurant's attorney, Jan Trendowski, said he'll appeal. He said the complaint was that the patron was arguing about a baseball game and the bartender looked over at the patron, who was sitting quietly, and decided to monitor the situation.
"They warned the bartender the guy was acting like a jerk," Trendowski said. "How they make the jump from jerk to stabbing, that's the real issue here. What is the sane response to the insane situation? If you don't know why he stabbed him how can you possibly say that something contributed to it?"
A message left with Mayor's attorney on Thursday wasn't immediately returned.