San Diego, CA — CaseyGerry announced today that the firm has reached a $12 million settlement with the United States of America in the Richard Perry and Gina Cimmino v. United States, et al. case. The resolution of this case, which alleged that Perry suffered life-altering injuries while participating in a military training exercise during an elite wrestling training camp held at Camp Pendleton in 2018, is believed to be the largest ever settlement with the United States for an individual personal injury claim in the Southern District of California.
“Richard Perry, a national superstar wrestler, suffered severe brain injuries that ended his wrestling career and left him fighting for his life when he was placed into an unsafe military training exercise,” said Robert J. Francavilla, CaseyGerry partner. “With his unstoppable determination, along with the incredible support of his wife Gina, his family, and the wrestling community, he beat the odds. Not only did he survive, he now helps coach some of the world’s best wrestlers and uses his inspiring story to help at-risk youth overcome their challenges by getting into wrestling themselves.”
Partners Robert J. Francavilla and Adam B. Levine represented Perry and Cimmino in this case, which was filed and litigated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.
BACKGROUND ON THE CASE
In 2018, Richard Perry was an elite athlete who earned himself a place on the US National Team for wrestling. In August of that year, he travelled to Camp Pendleton for a mandatory National Team training camp at Camp Pendleton. The training camp was planned and conducted jointly by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport of wrestling, and the US Marine Corps, one of USA Wrestling’s biggest sponsors.
While at the training camp, Richard and other elite wrestlers were placed into a military weapons training exercise and given instructions to strike their opponent in the face with a padded baton to score a “kill shot” and win the matchup. The activity was being filmed by a professional film crew with the intent that the footage could be used by the Marine Corps to recruit wrestlers.
Although other participants were provided helmets with tight-gridded facemasks, Richard was provided a helmet with a regular football-style facemask. Richard’s training partner was also provided with a training baton that was ripped and unsafe for the activity.
During the exercise, Richard’s training partner thrust his training baton at Richard’s face and it passed through one of the large gaps in his football facemask. The training baton’s hard central rod separated from its padding, shattering the back of Richard’s eye socket, and pushing the shattered bone fragments into his brain.
Richard was airlifted to Scripps Memorial Hospital where his treating doctors discovered that he had suffered catastrophic brain damage. When his wife Gina Cimmino arrived from Pennsylvania with their baby she was told to prepare herself for the fact that her husband and the father of her three children was unlikely to survive.
Gina refused to accept this prognosis. And with her faith and support, along with the support of his medical team and the wrestling community, Richard’s condition began to slowly improve. Not only did he survive, through his incredible resilience and hard work he was slowly able to regain the ability to speak, walk, write, feed himself, and to perform practically every other basic function of daily life.
While he will never be the same, Richard is now living at home with his wife and their four children. He continues to be involved in the sport of wrestling and is coaching some of the world’s best wrestlers at the same training center in Pennsylvania where he was a resident athlete at the time of the incident. He has also been able to return to Beat the Streets, a group working to get at-risk youth into the sport of wrestling, and his wife now works for this organization too.
Headquartered at 110 Laurel St. in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego, CaseyGerry was established in 1947 and is the oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in San Diego. The firm’s attorneys practice in numerous areas, including serious personal injury, government claims, automobile, maritime, trucking, aviation, product liability, sexual abuse, and class actions. For more information, visit www.caseygerry.com.