Widow awarded punitive damages in asset hiding scheme

Jurors awarded $108,000 in punitive damages Tuesday to the widow of a Las Vegas man who died in 2005 after a shoving incident.

“I’m obviously very, very happy with the jury’s decision and the fact that it was unanimous,” widow Sheri Weiss said after hearing the verdict.

Her attorney, David Mincin, told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday that “spitefulness” led to the civil case.

“We view this case as the defendants throwing salt on Sheri Weiss’s wounds,” the attorney said.

Jurors awarded the punitive damages after finding that Las Vegas physician Raymond Nicholl conspired with Raquel Shaw to hide the income of her husband, chiropractor Stephen Shaw, and help him avoid paying a large judgment to Weiss.

Stephen Shaw shoved 60-year-old Lawrence Weiss on March 11, 2005, causing him to fall and suffer fatal head injuries.

The chiropractor pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to five years of probation.

Then, in 2009, a civil jury found Stephen Shaw liable for the death and awarded nearly $2.5 million to Sheri Weiss.

Sheri Weiss later filed the lawsuit that accused the Shaws and Nicholl of trying to conceal the chiropractor’s assets.

Stephen Shaw resolved the claims against him before trial by allowing a $200,000 judgment to be entered against him. He did not attend the trial.

The 2005 incident was triggered by an argument between Raquel Shaw and Lawrence Weiss, who believed the woman had cut him off as they drove into the Fabulous Freddy’s carwash at Fort Apache Road and Charleston Boulevard. Raquel Shaw called her husband, who rushed to the scene.

Lawrence Weiss was walking away when a witness heard Stephen Shaw say, “Pick on someone your own size.” Stephen Shaw then immediately pushed the smaller victim, according to a prosecutor’s account of the incident.

Stephen Shaw was 36 at the time. Lawrence Weiss was a retired record company executive.

On Tuesday, the jury assessed punitive damages in the amount of $6,000 against Raquel Shaw, $30,000 against Rainbow Injury Rehabilitation LLC, and $72,000 against Nicholl.

Sheri Weiss, who now lives in Thousand Oaks, Calif., said the verdict sends a “clear message” that the defendants’ actions were wrong.