In a ruling that pleased neither plaintiff nor defendant, a Torrance Superior Court jury has awarded $35,000 in damages to Armando Estrada of Los Angeles for injuries he suffered in a 1983 shooting by a sheriff's deputy near Inglewood.
The jury found that the county and Deputy Richard Garcia were negligent in the shooting of Estrada, now 25. But the panel also found that Estrada was negligent and said that he should share the blame for the shooting, which left him with severe head and neck injuries.
Estrada, who has bullet fragments lodged in his neck, had testified that he still suffers from neck pains, headaches and sinus problems.
Estrada could not be reached for comment. But Winston K. McKesson, Estrada's lawyer, said this week that the jury award was too little and that jurors may have been influenced by a doctor for the plaintiff, who testified that a sinus operation costing $13,000 would solve Estrada's medical problems. Estrada's lawyers had sought $350,000.
Garcia said it was difficult for jurors to assess his actions because he was not permitted to testify about a previous encounter with Estrada. The deputy had arrested Estrada weeks earlier on a drug charge, and the two had scuffled. Estrada later pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and spent 16 days in County Jail.