August 7th, 2015
SAN JOSE -- The family of a Palo Alto man who died from a bouncer's punch outside a downtown San Jose night club in late March has filed a wrongful-death suit against the business, alleging that the bouncer was not properly licensed for his job.
Filed Thursday on behalf of 24-year-old's Danny Esquivel's parents, the suit seeks unspecified damages from the Myth Taverna and Lounge ownership for what they characterize as an unprovoked assault along with negligence by the business for failing to maintain a safe environment and for hiring security personnel who did not have either private security officer or security guard certification from the state.
"Club security has to change. They have to hire qualified, trained people, especially since they're in the business of selling liquor, of un-inhibiting people," said San Jose-based attorney Richard Alexander, who filed the suit.
Multiple calls to the business Thursday went unanswered, and the voice mailbox was full.The bouncer, Jose Bonilla Rodas, 28, of East Palo Alto, was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the March 28 death and is free on $75,000 bail. His next court date is Wednesday .A check of state records for Bonilla -- the only named defendant among the security staff -- confirmed the lack of licensure alleged in the suit, which stems from an encounter between Esquivel and Myth Taverna security staff after they escorted him out of the club at Post and San Pedro streets for reportedly getting into a clash with someone inside.
Once outside, police and witnesses said an argument ensued that ended with Bonilla punching Esquivel, who fell to the ground and was knocked unconscious.
Friends who were with Esquivel put him into a car and eventually drove him to Stanford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that morning. Palo Alto police responding to the hospital determined that the cause of his death occurred in San Jose.
Esquivel's death was not publicly deemed a homicide until more than two months passed, when San Jose detectives arrested Bonilla on June 5. The coroner's office determined Esquivel died from a skull fracture to the back of his head and "blunt-force craniocerebral injuries due to fall due to physical altercation."
"All they do is hire muscle. What does muscle do? Muscle does muscle," Alexander said. "A kid shouldn't die."
UPDATE VIA: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_30264228/bouncer-gets-eight-months-jail-punch-that-killed
San Jose fatal punch: Bouncer gets eight months in jail for Palo Alto man's death outside bar
By Robert Salonga, email@example.com
POSTED: 08/19/2016 05:01:52 AM PDT | UPDATED: 7 DAYS AGO
Jose Bonilla Rodas, 28, of East Palo Alto (Robert Salonga)
San Jose: Palo Alto family of man dead from bouncer's punch sues downtown night club
San Jose: Bouncer arrested in March death of Palo Alto man outside downtown club
San Jose: Police seek witnesses to man fatally injured outside downtown nightclub
Man dies at Stanford Hospital after altercation in downtown San Jose
SAN JOSE -- A former bouncer for a downtown San Jose nightclub was sentenced Thursday to eight months in county jail in connection with a confrontation last year where he punched a patron who later died.
Jose Bonilla Rodas, 29, of East Palo Alto, had long pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the March 28, 2015 death of 24-year-old Danny Esquivel of Palo Alto. Judge Arthur Bocanegra ordered the jail term and an ensuing three years of probation.Rodas expressed remorse for his act during the court hearing, but to Esquivel's family and friends, many of whom gave tearful testimonies known as impact statements, the sentence was too lenient.
Danny Esquivel, 24, of Palo Alto (Robert Salonga)
"He gets an eight-month sentence and I have a lifetime sentence without Danny," said Blanca Martinez, Esquivel's mother. "His family will still be able to hear from him, see him, and we don't have that."Esquivel was at the Myth Taverna and Lounge at Post and South San Pedro streets in the early-morning hours of March 28 when he was escorted out for reportedly clashing with someone inside. Once outside, police and witnesses said an argument ensued that ended with Bonilla punching Esquivel, who fell to the ground and was knocked unconscious. Friends who were with Esquivel put him into a car and eventually drove him to Stanford Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead later that morning. The coroner's office determined Esquivel died from a skull fracture to the back of his head and "blunt-force craniocerebral injuries due to fall due to physical altercation." by Esquivel's family against the Myth Taverna is still pending. In the filing, the family accuses ownership and management of failing to maintain a safe environment and hiring unlicensed security personnel.
This newspaper confirmed that Bonilla did not have a state license known as a "guard card" that affirms a baseline clearance to perform security work.Deputy District Attorney Michael Vidmar said Bonilla will likely serve four months of his total sentence. Sentencing guidelines in California allow convicts with no prior felony history to be eligible for what is known as half time.
Vidmar said it was clear from the circumstances of the case that Bonilla had to be held responsible for Esquivel's death.
"If it wasn't for the aggressive act carried out by the defendant," he said, "we would not have had the loss of life that we did."