Lawsuit filed in punching death of Palo Alto man outside bar

Family of Daniel Adam Esquivel is seeking more than $20 million

The parents of a 24-year-old Palo Alto man who died after allegedly being punched by a large bouncer at a San Jose bar have filed a more than $20-million lawsuit against the business, its owners and the bouncer.

Daniel Adam Esquivel was knocked unconscious after the bar's bouncer, Jose Bonilla Rodas, 28, allegedly struck him during an argument outside the Myth Taverna & Lounge on March 28. Esquivel fell to the ground, striking his head. He never regained consciousness. He was pronounced dead at Stanford Hospital a few hours later, according to police. The Santa Clara County Coroner determined that Esquivel died of blunt-force trauma as a result of the incident.

The lawsuit by Blanca Reyes and David Esquivel, the deceased man's parents, was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Thursday, Aug. 6. It alleges battery, assault, negligence, negligence in hiring, retention and supervision and premises liability.

The plaintiffs are asking for $10 million for loss of earnings, $10 million for loss of companionship and currently undetermined sums for medical, funeral and other expenses and losses. The suit names Myth Taverna Lounge, 152 Post LLC, Myth Partners, LLC, owners Anthony Emmanuel Pagkas, Tsampika Pagkas, Isaac Barrera, Carlos Carmona and Rodas as defendants.

The case highlights the danger of hiring unlicensed persons as security at bars and night clubs, the plaintiffs' attorney, Richard Alexander, said.

"They hire big men to be their local police. They are untrained. Excessive force is common," he said. Alexander has represented a number of cases where bouncers caused serious injury, including a case in Campbell, where a patron received a broken jaw and in Alameda, where someone sustained brain damage.

Reyes said she wants to change state law to require bars to hire licensed and trained security.

"The message here really is that no money in the world can make up for the loss we suffer. Our goal is to stop senseless, unnecessary violence and excessive force at bars and night clubs," Reyes said.

"Bars make money because young people drink. We are pushing for a change in California law requiring all staff at night clubs and bars to be fully trained and provided with the skills to avoid what happened here. Hiring staff with muscles leads to the use of excessive force. It's time they were required to hire staff with brains and who are there to protect patrons, not hurt them."

Under California law, security guards must receive proper training, and they must obtain a Proprietary Private Security Officer or Security Guard license through the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services under the state Business and Professions code.

Alexander argues that bouncers are security guards who are tasked with protecting property and people, and as such it is negligent to hire and allow bouncers to work without the necessary training and registrations, the lawsuit alleges.

The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


24 people like this
Posted by long time coworker
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2015 at 8:34 am

This whole story is tragic. I have worked with Danny’s mother for many, many years. The family would give all the money in the world just to have Danny back. Knowing the type of person that his mom is, the family will make a difference in other’s lives in Danny’s name.

It’s my understanding that a scholarship was set up at the East Palo Alto YMCA in Danny’s name that already has made an impact on a child’s life. Again, just so tragic.

I hope change comes and a law goes into place that will require bouncers to carry the necessary requirements before they can "bounce".

My prayers continue to be with this family.

12 people like this
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2015 at 10:59 am

My usual response to the lawsuit after some person dies in a tragic way is an eye roll. I assume an ambulance chaser has hounded the grief stricken family and waved promises of big bucks under their noses.

However, in this particular case, I hope these bar owners get soaked and soaked good. Of course, it will be the insurance company that gets soaked, but maybe the bar owners will be unable to afford liability insurance in future due to this shocking case.

6 people like this
Posted by Concerned Retiree
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

[Post removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 7, 2015 at 12:04 pm

[Post removed.]

3 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2015 at 12:13 pm

[Post removed.]

7 people like this
Posted by I get it
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 7, 2015 at 1:58 pm

[Portion removed.] This story needs the attention of all. He wasn't nobody.... He was a son, a friend.... He was my friend.... Grieve , of course the parents grieved. Things like this just can't be grieved and nothing said and it happens again to somebody else... [Portion removed.] God Bless his family and friends......

Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm

"The suit names Myth Taverna Lounge, 152 Post LLC, Myth Partners, LLC, owners Anthony Emmanuel Pagkas, Tsampika Pagkas, Isaac Barrera, Carlos Carmona and Rodas as defendants."

Myth Partners, LLC holds the State ABC license; from the State's ABC license database, looks like the Franchise Tax Board placed a hold on the license back in 2013. As I understand, the FTB has not yet removed the hold:
Web Link

8 people like this
Posted by Miss My Friend
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 7, 2015 at 3:40 pm

[Portion removed.]

Myth needs to be shut down. So many bad reviews on Yelp about security even after this tragic death.
There's a story here that needs to be told & it's not about the money. I know this family & know they're suffering in losing their son, brother, & grandson. He was a wonderful person & I too miss my friend. RIP DANNY You will never be forgotten.

7 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2015 at 7:11 pm

$20 million is absolutely ridiculous. I could see maybe $2 million.

3 people like this
Posted by another longtime coworker
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

On my way into work, I had this family heavy on my heart and thoughts, I normally don’t participate in any forum comments. My eyes filled up with tears last night as I saw Danny’s picture pop up in this article another reminder that he’s gone. I also am a long time coworker of his “Mama’ (as he would call her). I can’t even imagine the heartache Blanca suffers from losing one of her beloved children. She’s one of the most amazing mothers I know. I miss Danny’s smile and wave hello when he would stop by to visit his Mama or bring by something for her to eat. I miss his Facebook messages that came from the heart and inspired so many. The light that lit in Danny’s eyes and soul with the love he had for God blessed many.

As a parent, myself, I know that no amount of money could make up for losing a child. I know that this family isn’t trying to gain from Danny’s death, they are not like that, rather want to make changes to prevent further tragedies from happening. I wish them the best of luck. God Bless.

3 people like this
Posted by Monte
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2015 at 11:44 am

Monte is a registered user.

Danny was such a great person with a loving BIG heart. He would feed the homeless in downtown Palo Alto. He never judged people for their color of their skin, what they wore, or where they came from. All that knew him will miss his spiritual positive and inspirational talks. Always helping us to feel better. He loved to write poetry and music. He hoped to inspire people through his music. Each summer he volunteered at the East Palo Alto kid YMCA. Now a scholarship has been named in his honor so we can continue what he loved to do. He was a great athlete who coached little league and his smaller siblings. Nothing will replace him. We now pray that in his name no one will have to mourn a senseless death such as a bouncer brutally hitting them causing their death. Establishments need to be held accountable for their negligence and who they hire to protect their clients. Peace & Love words Danny taught us.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

First Sunnyvale, then Australia: Mountain View's Le Plonc plots expansion
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 2,377 views

Juggling Renewables
By Sherry Listgarten | 27 comments | 1,818 views

Premarital and Couples: Living as Roommates?
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,352 views

Homestead Faire at Hidden Villa 4/27
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 535 views

A trial run
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 509 views


Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.