The mother of a professional surfer who was fatally beaten in La Jolla last year filed a lawsuit yesterday against five young men involved in the fight, their parents, and the bar where some members of the group had been drinking.
Cynthia Kauanui accuses the men of wrongful death for beating or assisting in the beating of Emery Kauanui, 24, on May 24, 2007.
In her suit, Kauanui says the young men’s parents are also at fault because they had a "duty" to control, discipline and supervise their children. She says the parents of all but one of the men knew about their sons’ violent behavior as minors, which included drinking and starting fights, but failed to stop it.
"It was a way of life for them," said Craig McClellan, an attorney representing Kauanui. "At some point, there’s an obligation for a parent to take charge."
Kauanui is seeking unspecified general and punitive damages.
The men named in the lawsuit are Seth Cravens, 22; Eric House, 21; Orlando Osuna, 23; Matthew Yanke, 22; and Henri "Hank" Hendricks, 22. They were all graduates of La Jolla High School and part of a group called the "Bird Rock Bandits." They were arrested last year and charged with murder.
Last month, all but one of the defendants pleaded guilty to lesser felonies, leaving Cravens to be tried on charges of murder, assault and battery.