Victim of vicious Main Street attack awarded $466,257
The two men responsible for a violent attack along Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 were ordered on Thursday to pay the victim $466,257.33.
Third District Court Judge Ryan Harris entered the ruling in a lawsuit the victim filed against the two. Ryan Bilbrey, who was attacked on Jan. 18, 2009, was awarded $250,000 in general damages, $125,257.33 to compensate him for medical bills and $91,000 in lost wages.
John Cook, who inflicted the worst of Bilbrey’s injuries, was ordered to pay 70 percent of the total, or $326,380.13. Kyle Erickson, the other person involved, was ordered to pay the remaining 30 percent, or $139,877.20.
"I’m satisfied with the judgment, 100 percent," Bilbrey said, calling the figure "reasonable."
The lawsuit was filed in the fall of 2009. There had been little apparent progress in recent months, but the sides in February were at one point scheduled to conduct a final conference over the phone prior to a trial.
Bilbrey, who is 41 years old and lives in Los Angeles, suffered a broken nose and his eye sockets and cheekbones were broken during the attack. He required four surgeries to reconstruct his face and to remove a plate that was put in as a result of the injuries.
Neither Cook nor Erickson was present on Thursday, and they did not have legal representation in the courtroom. Third District Court records did not list them as having attorneys representing them in the lawsuit. Court documents filed in 2009 listed Cook as living in Lindon and Erickson as living in Lehi.
Brad Bearnson, the attorney who represented Bilbrey, said in an interview it is not clear whether Bilbrey will ever collect the judgment. He said neither Cook nor Erickson has displayed responsibility over the course of the case, calling the prospects of Bilbrey collecting a "$400,000 question."
"It’s a bit of a paper victory for Mr. Bilbrey at this point," Bearnson said.
Bilbrey agreed, wondering whether he will collect the judgment.
"Am I ever going to see a dime out of that," he said.
The attack attracted widespread publicity for its viciousness on a night when Park City was crowded with Sundance-goers. Fisticuffs are common along Main Street, but the attack on Bilbrey was a rare instance of brutality on the street.
Bilbrey was with others on Main Street when they came across Cook and Erickson close to the Egyptian Theatre. Bilbrey has said Erickson was the instigator of the confrontation and he and Erickson scuffled. Bilbrey ended up on the ground and Cook kicked him hard in the face, causing the injuries. Cook was captured nearby shortly afterward. Investigators tracked down Erickson nearly six months later.
Cook was convicted of assault and he served 230 days in jail, 70 days fewer than Judge Bruce Lubeck’s sentence. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office released him early based on good behavior. Erickson pleaded guilty to charges of simple assault and disorderly conduct. Erickson’s sentence included 20 days in jail. The time was suspended.
The lawsuit listed 10 claims against either Cook or Erickson, including intentional infliction of emotional distress. Their conduct "was outrageous and intolerable in that it offended generally accepted standards of decency and morality," the lawsuit charged.
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