Bouncer, restaurant sued over man’s death

The parents of a 24-year-old Palo Alto man, who was killed earlier this year after a bouncer at a San Jose restaurant punched him, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the bouncer, restaurant and its owners.

The suit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court claims Daniel Adam Esquivel was fatally struck in the head and knocked unconscious by 28-year-old Jose Bonilla Rodas around 1:30 a.m. on March 28 at Myth Taverna and Lounge, located at 152 Post St. in downtown San Jose.

“There’s no excuse for killing someone and punching them so hard that they never get up,” said attorney Richard Alexander, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Esquivel’s parents.

Police said an investigation indicated that Esquivel stepped outside the club where he got into an argument with Rodas, a bouncer at the restaurant.

Rodas allegedly punched Esquivel, who fell down and became unconscious, police said.

Esquivel’s friends took him to Stanford Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Rodas, an East Palo Alto resident, was arrested on June 5 in connection with Esquivel’s death, police said.

Rodas has been charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and is scheduled to appear at the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

The claim alleges battery, assault, negligence, negligence in hiring, retention and supervision, and premises liability against the defendants.

After learning of the alleged punch by Rodas, the business owners did not investigate the guard’s actions, according to the claim.

The restaurant’s owners allegedly allowed their security guards to work without proper training or licenses required under state law, placing their customers at risk, according to the suit.

With a liquor license from the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the owners were “in the business of making people loosen up and should be exercising a higher level of care,” Alexander said.

“If you just hire someone with muscle, you have muscle,” he said.

The suit seeks $10 million for the parents’ loss of care and comfort from their son and $10 million for lost wages in Esquivel’s death, Alexander said.