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Jason Wahler just got a dose of reality—and not of the MTV variety.
A Los Angeles jury today ordered the former Laguna Beach and sometime Hills day player to shell out some cash for rough up a tow-truck driver.
Wahler has been ordered to pay driver Dario Stevenson $5,000 for a September 2006 altercation during which the Beach bum allegedly punched Stevenson in the face, hurled racial slurs in his direction, and generally made a lawbreaking nuisance of himself.
Not that the payout signals any sort of end to the fallout Wahler may face.
Lawyers for both sides are still working to settle the pending punitive-damage reward for Stevenson, on which Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Grimes has placed a $45,000 cap—nine times the amount of the compensatory damages determined by the eight-woman, four-man jury.
Should Stevenson be awarded the maximum sum, it is still astronomically lower than what he originally sought from the MTV playboy—namely, $1 million.
"Hell yes, I'm disappointed," Stevenson's lawyer, Daniel Wagner, told reporters of the case's outcome, going on to seemingly hint at potential juror bias by pointing out that none of the jurors were, like his client, black.
As for Wahler, who pleaded no contest to charges of misdemeanor battery and disturbing the peace and who underwent rehab last year in order to avoid jail time in the incident, he testified earlier this week that while he was drunk and using racial epithets he was not proud of during the run-in, he held fast to his claim that he never took a swing at the driver.
"I was being an idiot," he said. "I was running off at my mouth."
He countered that it was Stevenson who connected on some hits once the violent encounter erupted, testifying that he suffered a black eye and a broken hand that has yet to fully heal.
Meanwhile, both 21-year-old Wahler and his passenger that night, Kristen DeLuca, still face separate pending lawsuits from Los Angeles City Traffic Officer Jonathan Wallace, who also claims to have been victimized during the incident.