SLO firefighter sued by man he beat unconscious in bar fight

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJune 7, 2013 

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The man severely beaten two years ago by a San Luis Obispo firefighter in a bathroom brawl at a local bar is suing his alleged attacker.

Jory Brigham filed a civil lawsuit in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on May 31, five days before the city announced it had rehired John Ryan Mason and eight months after a mistrial was declared when jurors could not reach a unanimous decision in Mason's trial.

The lawsuit names Mason; his wife, Kendra Mason; and Pappy McGregor’s Bar & Grill — the bar where the fight occurred — as defendants.

Brigham is seeking unspecified compensatory damages for past and future medical costs and wages lost, plus damages for pain and suffering.

Brigham suffered a broken nose, jaw and cheekbones during the altercation.

His attorney, Greg Coates, declined to comment on the case or the reinstatement of Mason to the city’s Fire Department.

Mason could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit alleges that Mason’s actions were malicious and intended to cause injury.

“Defendant John Ryan Mason’s actions were despicable, in that the attacked (the) plaintiff in conscious disregard of (the) plaintiff’s rights and safety,” the lawsuit says.

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Mason’s wife, Kendra Mason, “should have known of her husband’s dangerous propensities, had the ability to control him, but on June 4, 2011, she failed to prevent or diffuse the brutal attack upon (the) plaintiff by her husband.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Kendra Mason knew prior to the fight that her husband planned to hurt Brigham.

Pappy McGregor’s is also being sued on the basis of liability because the assault happened there.

During the criminal trial, both attorneys agreed that Mason of San Luis Obispo and Brigham of Los Osos had a verbal exchange at the bar after attending the wedding of a mutual friend.

The prosecution maintained that during the argument, Mason — still angry about a Facebook posting Brigham had made months earlier that alluded to his marital problems — sucker-punched Brigham, then elbowed him in the face multiple times, causing Brigham to lose consciousness.

The defense argued that Mason was only defending himself in what was an escalating altercation.

Eight jurors determined that Mason was not guilty, and four voted to convict.

The District Attorney’s Office decided not to retry the case.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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