EDITOR’S NOTE: For ongoing developments in this story, please see our latest update here.
Former jiu-jitsu student Jack Greener — who sustained a spinal cord injury in 2018 during a class at the Del Mar Jiu-Jitsu Club, which left him partially quadriplegic — was awarded over $46 million in damages by a San Diego jury on March 28, per Business Wire.
Greener, who was 23 at the time of the injury, claimed in his lawsuit that his black belt coach, Francisco Iturralde, forcefully placed his full bodyweight on Greener’s neck during a routine rolling session while Greener was turtled up. The maneuver reportedly crushed Greener’s cervical vertebrae, paralyzing him immediately.
The injury put Greener — who was preparing for his college graduation, and planning to embark on a career as a professional surf instructor in Costa Rica — in the hospital for months. There, he suffered multiple strokes, as well as other serious health issues.
Greener’s attorney, Rahul Ravipudi, remarked at trial, “[…] Mr. Iturralde testified that he knew his obligations were to be safe and minimize risk for his white belt student, Jack Greener, and that he failed to do so by attempting a dangerous move without any control over his student or himself. Despite these admissions, defense counsel continued to deny responsibility and minimize the harms and losses to Jack Greener who was weeks away from graduating from college and starting his career as a professional surf instructor in Costa Rica. His life as he knew it was taken away from him on November 29, 2018.”