Family of an Australian man injured in Fresno fight is now suing

FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) -- The family of an Australian man who suffered a major brain injury during a visit to Fresno is suing the man they said is responsible for leaving him nearly dead.

The lawsuit was filed against a man who lawyers said beat up Robert Scott so badly that he was left with lifelong injuries which require around-the-clock medical care.

Robert Scott was a national champion on the Australian Junior Rowing Team. The confrontation left him with a brain fracture, and several other devastating injuries. Now his family wants financial compensation from the suspect.

Scott was visiting friends in Fresno last summer as part of a yearlong break from his job as a high school PE teacher in Australia. But a walk down Angus Street in Northeast Fresno left him with a major brain injury and in a coma. Fresno police said he was confronted by a man named Gilbert Romero, who came out of a house and punched him.

ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi said, "Seems pretty clear he will win the lawsuit. The big question is not winning the lawsuit but collecting any money in this case."

So far, the Fresno County District Attorney's Office said due to insufficient evidence no criminal charges have been filed. Scott spent several weeks in intensive care. His father said Romero hasn't done the right thing from the start.

"He fled the scene right after he hit Robert," said the victim's father, Steve Scott. "If he had nothing to answer to, he could have stayed."

Capozzi said a criminal case would have little to do with the civil lawsuit. The Scott's may be entitled to money from any auto or home insurance policies. But the amount would depend on whether the victim contributed to the fight that left him critically hurt.

"The big question here is did the victim add to the damages," Capozzi said. "Was he, in part, at fault for what happened here. That may be an issue here if it were to go to trial."

The lawsuit claims the 26-year-old victim will need constant care that will cost from $300 to $400 thousand dollars a year. Nine months later, Scott has only recently started to speak again and move his legs.

The lawsuit also asks for punitive damages. Fresno police said the suspect is a gang member. Once the victim was stable enough, he was flown back to Australia and is recovering at home.

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