Chiropractor Stephen Shaw must pay nearly $2.5 million to the widow of a retired music executive who died after Shaw shoved him during a confrontation at a Las Vegas car wash.
Following a weeklong trial, a jury deliberated about four hours today before finding Shaw civilly liable for the March 2005 death of Larry Weiss.
The jury awarded $2.48 million to Weiss’ widow and will return for a March 30 hearing to determine punitive damages against Shaw.
“Finally, there’s justice for my husband,” a tearful Sheri Weiss said outside the courtroom.
The confrontation was triggered by an argument between Shaw’s wife and Weiss, who believed she had cut him off at the smog check station at Fabulous Freddy’s Car Wash at Fort Apache Road and Charleston Boulevard.
Shaw’s lawyer, Brent Percival, told the jury the 60-year-old screamed “vile” language at the woman in front of her two young daughters, though Weiss’ friends and family said he didn’t use such language.
After Weiss walked away, Raquel Shaw called her husband, who raced to the car wash and confronted Weiss.
During that confrontation, Stephen Shaw, a 36-year-old former college football player, shoved Weiss into a steel cage holding propane tanks. Weiss hit his head and died two days later.
Stephen Shaw pleaded guilty in 2007 to involuntary manslaughter and received five years’ probation.
Weiss’ family and friends believed he got off too easily. That changed with Friday’s verdict.
“He finally had to take responsibility in some way,” said the Weisses’ daughter, Lauren Weiss.
After the verdict was read, a group of about 10 of Weiss’ family and friends broke into tears. Sheri Weiss mouthed the words “Thank you” to the jury and hugged her lawyer, Don Campbell.
Stephen Shaw, who sat with one supporter, sat silently without any visible emotion. He and his lawyer, Brent Percival, declined to comment on the verdict.
“All we wanted all along was for him to be held responsible,” Lauren Weiss said.
Weiss’ family said they would use part of the money to honor him. Lauren Weiss, a schoolteacher, hoped that would be a scholarship.
Contact reporter Brian Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0281.