Friday, July 28, 2017

Rock Hill family may not see $1.8M in fatal sucker punch lawsuit

A Rock Hill family is fighting to get even a dime of a $1.8 million court judgment after their father and husband was killed outside of a Rock Hill bar by a punch to the head.

Vietnam veteran Odell Fields served on the battlefield but lost his life one night in 2014.

Surveillance video from the Sandbar and Grille shows Eric Cobb finish his drink and charge at Fields throwing one deadly punch.

“It was a sucker punch,” Odell Field’s son, Johnny Fields, said. “He didn't see it coming.”

Cobb is now serving a 15-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter, but Fields said his father's death has been especially hard for his mother.

“She grieved so much that the neurologist said it took so much out of her, she had a stroke,” Fields said. “She had a massive stroke.”

Fields filed a lawsuit against Cobb, the bar and its manager, Jose Cintron.

Last month, a judge awarded the family $1.8 million in damages.

“I can tell you right now they haven't gotten a penny and I don't know that they will,” the Fields' attorney, Joel Hamilton, said.

The Sandbar and Grille's insurance company claims its coverage doesn't include incidents involving alcohol, but a new law just took effect in South Carolina requiring bars and restaurants to have $1 million in coverage if they serve alcohol after 5 p.m.,” Hamilton said.

“People that suffer injuries or losses due to someone being overserved in a bar, at least there is some protection to help hold those people accountable,” Hamilton said.

The law doesn't help Fields' family but it protects patrons in the future.

Senate Bill 116 became law July 1.

Hamilton said they'll fight the bar's insurance company trying to get the money for Fields’ family but there's no telling how long that could take.