A former football player who contended that he was beaten within an inch of his life by a service station owner three years ago was awarded $103,000 in damages yesterday by a Prince George's County jury.
John J. (Jack) Davis, a lineman for the University of Maryland, the Washington Redskins and the Hamilton Tiger Cats in Canada during the 1950s, testified that the owner of a Seabrook gas station beat him up when he came to retrieve his car, which had been towed from a shopping center in New Carrollton.
Davis, 51, who now does audit work with the Department of Labor, said the owner, former Prince George's police detective Richard C. Tulowitzki, also followed him to a nearby parking lot and beat him again. Davis testified that he lost two front teeth and a large clump of hair during the fight, and was bitten on his ear, neck, fingers and side. Large color photographs of his injuries were shown to the jury by Davis' attorneys.
Tulowitzki, who also sued Davis, testified that Davis was drunk and had started the fight. He contended that Davis had bitten one of his fingers so hard during the fight that it almost came off, and had also bitten his son in the side. Tulowitzki, 37, who also works as a private detective, said he had followed Davis to the parking lot to "detain" him until police arrived.
In closing arguments to the jury, Tulowitzki's attorney, Melvin Bergman, cited Davis' career as an offensive guard and later as a professional wrestler, and called him "a man who's aggressive, who's used to having things his own way." He asked jurors "to prevent the Jack Davises of this world from pushing, from bullying their way around."
Lawyers for Davis said their client was sober when the fight occurred. Edward J. Connor told the jurors that Davis' car was towed from an illegal parking spot at the New Carrollton Mall to Tulowitzki's gas station, where Davis went to pay the $35 towing fee.
Connor said Davis was simply trying to start his car, which was blocked by others at the station, when an "invasion" of Tulowitzki, his employees and family arrived, threatening to kill him, and came close to doing so."
Bergman called the judgment, of $40,000 in compensatory damages and $63,000 in punitive damages, "extremely excessive" and said he intended to file a motion for a new trial.