Cases & Deals

Gay man wins civil rights suit after beating in St. Maarten

Client(s) Smith, Ryan

While on vacation in 2006 on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, Ryan Smith, a young journalist with CBS News' 48 Hours program, was accosted by a group of local thugs, who administered a life-threatening beating to him and one of his travel companions because of their sexual orientation. Ryan was beaten with a tire iron, his skull was crushed, and the injuries to his brain left him barely able to speak. As the St. Maarten judge pronounced, "In this case . . . the cause [of the attacks] was discrimination or contempt of other people. It does not matter if it is discrimination because of religious backgrounds, race or sexual inclination. These causes are the most vicious as history has shown, because they are not based on rational arguments." Jones Day Washington has represented Ryan and his family with respect to the legal matters that followed these criminal acts, including working with the public prosecutor of St. Maarten to help obtain the convictions of all four assailants and with St. Maarten lawyers to obtain civil judgments against them. Jones Day also represented Ryan before the New York State Crime Victims Board to obtain some compensation for his out-of-pocket medical expenses under New York law.

After several surgeries and extensive physical and occupational therapy, Ryan has regained full functioning and has returned to his position with 48 Hours.