$3.4M Verdict in Johnston County Wrongful Death of Man in Bar

DISCLAIMER: The results are specific to the facts and legal circumstances of each of the clients' cases and should not be used to form an expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case.

north carolina wrongful deathClinton Massengill from Four Oaks went to a bar in Selma, North Carolina on September 18, 2010 and was taken away by ambulance after he was physically assaulted by Brian Wayne Bailey, a man from Middlesex, North Carolina. Massengill, 23, died nine days later as a result of the injuries caused by Bailey.

Massengill’s surviving family members retained the North Carolina wrongful death attorneys Brent Adams and Tony Botros. The tragic case moved to trial in Johnston County. Judge Robert F. Floyd, Jr. of Lumberton presided over the trial in Smithfield, North Carolina. Evidence presented during trial showed that the victim fell backwards after being struck in the face. His fall caused him to hit his head on the floor, spurring profuse bleeding from his ears and the back of his head. The autopsy report introduced at trial indicated that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the head.

Massengill, who had no criminal record, was an employee of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Our attorneys presented evidence that he was liked and respected in his community.

At the trial, the Defendant Bailey claimed that he and Massengill were friends and that he bore no ill will towards Massengill when he hit him. Bailey testified that the reason he hit Massengill was that Massengill was smirking.

Evidence presented at trial by Massengill’s family was that after striking Massengill, the Defendant Bailey was immediately removed from the bar and forced outside. Once outside, Bailey went to his car and pulled out a box cutter with the blade open and waved it at the crowd which by that time had gathered around Bailey. Bailey then ran to another car occupied by his girlfriend and pulled out a loaded gun and pointed it at the crowd. Bailey then fled the scene in a car and was apprehended by police officers some 13 miles from the scene.

Massengill’s estate incurred medical bills of over $72,000 as a result of his injuries and treatment prior to his death. The jury returned a verdict on June 1, 2015 awarding $3,409,612 to the victim’s surviving family members. The verdict was for compensatory damages only. Compensatory damages are awarded for the purpose of compensating the victim’s family for the loss of Massengill’s life and for conscious pain and suffering experienced by Massengill during the 9 days between the assault and his death. The jury did not award punitive damages.