A jury has ordered CBS Television Studios to pay $10.45 million to the family of a 52-year-old man who was killed during production of the show "NCIS."
Julio Villamariona was working as a security guard on the set of "NCIS" in 2011 when the driver of a CBS van transporting actors passed out. The driver lost control of the vehicle and struck and killed Villamariona, a father of three children who had emigrated from San Salvador.
CBS had maintained the accident was caused by a medical emergency outside of its control. The company later admitted it was responsible for the death, but disputed the amount of money that should be paid to the family to settle the claim, according to a statement from the law firm of Panish Shea & Boyle, which represented Villamariona family.
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Panish alleged that CBS should not have used the driver involved in the accident because he had a medical condition that caused him to pass out.
"I am so proud of the surviving family members and the jury for standing up to a powerful entity like CBS," Brian Panish, attorney for the Villamariona family, said in the statement. "The family lost a wonderful man who was the hub of their family."
A representative for CBS was not immediately available for comment.
Following the collision, CBS issued a statement, saying: "Everyone at the network, the studio and 'NCIS' is devastated at the news. Our hearts grieve for his family and friends for this tragic loss. We are, of course, cooperating with local authorities in Santa Clarita to help determine what caused this terrible accident."
Panish Shea & Boyle also is representing the family of a consultant who died in a helicopter crash in Acton last year that killed three people during production of a Discovery Channel TV show. That case is expected to go trial by early next year.