A former athlete from the U.S. national wrestling team, Richard Perry, who suffered grave injuries during a 2018 training camp exercise at Camp Pendleton, has agreed on a $12 million settlement with the United States of America, revealed on Tuesday.
Richard Perry, along with his wife, Gina Cimmino, lodged a lawsuit claiming that Perry was hit with a baton during a training drill, resulting in severe damage to his eye socket and skull, and causing bone shards to penetrate his brain.
The incident almost cost him his life, leaving him with multiple traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, and enduring, disfiguring injuries, as cited in the lawsuit.
His legal representatives stated that the recently agreed settlement is considered to be the highest ever secured with the United States for a personal injury claim in the Southern District of California, including San Diego and Imperial counties.
“Richard Perry, a nationally renowned wrestler, sustained severe brain injuries that put an end to his wrestling career and left him fighting for survival after he was involved in a perilous military training drill,” said attorney Robert Francavilla.
“Thanks to his unwavering determination, along with the remarkable support from his wife Gina, his family, and the wrestling community, he overcame the odds. Not only did he survive, but he now also mentors some of the world’s top wrestlers and shares his inspiring story to help at-risk youth overcome their hurdles through wrestling.”
According to the lawsuit, the Marine Corps and USA Wrestling encouraged Perry and other civilians to participate in a military-style drill involving weapons, for which the participants had not received sufficient training. The event was partly designed as a strategy to recruit wrestlers into the Marine Corps, the lawsuit added.
During the training camp, Perry and another civilian attendee were equipped with batons and helmets with facemasks and were directed to “strike, thrust and jab at the opponent’s head and face to score a `kill shot,'” as stated in the complaint.
As Perry’s training partner jabbed with the baton, the weapon managed to slip through a gap in Perry’s facemask.
According to Perry and Cimmino’s attorneys, he was initially not expected to survive his injuries. However, he made a recovery and is currently coaching wrestlers in his home state of Pennsylvania, where he resides with Cimmino and their four children.