Alliteration aside, Barron Hilton, an heir to the Hilton Hotel fortune, was recently ordered to pay $4.9 million to Fernando Tellez, a gas station employee in Malibu. According to the Los Angeles Times, Barron Hilton struck Tellez with his Mercedes Benz back in 2008 after witnesses said Hilton drove the wrong way for miles down Pacific Coast Highway. At trial, Hilton denied that he had driven the car and claimed amnesia for the entire incident – despite witnesses that identified Hilton as being the driver.
Hilton was ordered to pay $4.6 million for pain and suffering and the remainder to cover medical expenses, loss of earnings, punitive damages, and interest. Hilton was just 18 at the time he severely injured Tellez on his drunken spree. Following the collision with Tellez, Hilton was arrested and charged with DWI. Hilton’s blood alcohol concentration measured .14% – Hilton later pleaded no contest to the criminal charge. According to Joseph M. Kar, attorney for Tellez, “this wild night of reckless partying resulted in Mr. Tellez’s permanent disability, required him to undergo multiple surgeries and medical procedures and destroyed his family and his ability to provide for his family.”
Barron Hilton is now famous for something other than just being the brother of Paris Hilton and a spoiled rich kid. Rather than taking responsibility and accountability for his own actions, he continued to deny that he was responsible for causing Tellez’s disabling injuries. This is why Tellez had no choice but to file suit and seek the help of the court system. We see this every day. Indeed, if Barron Hilton had his way – Mr. Tellez’s injuries would have gone totally uncompensated. Thankfully for Mr. Tellez and his family, Barron Hilton was FORCED to accept responsibility and accountability. Without the right to file a lawsuit, Mr. Tellez would have received nothing for his injuries. The Founding Fathers of our country were clearly onto something when they included the 7th Amendment in the Bill of Rights.