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Da Brat to Pay $6.4M for Bottle Attack on Ex-NFL Cheerleader

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on February 28, 2014 11:01 AM

Rapper Da Brat has been ordered to pay $6.4 million in damages to the victim she attacked with a rum bottle back in 2007.

Da Brat has already served three years in prison for the attack, but the victim, Shayla Stevens, filed a civil lawsuit against the rapper for her injuries, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The jury awarded Stevens with $3.7 million in compensatory damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages.

Compensatory v. Punitive Damages

So what's the difference between compensatory and punitive damages? In general, compensatory damages provide victims with the amount of money they've lost due to their injuries. Compensatory damages must be calculable and can be based on lost wages, hospital bills, and future medical expenses. The plaintiff must provide proof of these damages.

On the other hand, punitive damages are meant to punish the attacker -- in this case Da Brat -- and prevent her from repeating her outrageous conduct. Punitive damages aren't awarded for just any type of wrongdoing. To justify punitive damages, the aggressor's conduct must be intentional, outrageous, malicious, or reckless.

Are The Damages 'Excessive?'

In Steven's case, Da Brat attacked her with a bottle in a club. The attack left her with a permanent brain injury and a scar on her face, according to the Journal-Constitution. While Stevens did suffer serious injuries, Da Brat's attorney called the $6.4 million damages award "excessive."

In terms of the compensatory damages, it appears that Stevens has sustained permanent, lifelong injuries as a result of the assault. Treating her brain injuries will likely continue to be very expensive -- including doctor's and hospital bills, medicine, medical supplies, and travel to and from healthcare facilities. Her injuries could also trigger future medical problems.

Additionally, Stevens was an Atlanta Falcon's cheerleader and may have earned money for appearances, but with her brain injuries and facial scarring, those offers may no longer be coming in. Given the life-changing aspects of her injuries, the $3.7 million compensatory damages award may be a fair way to financially cover Stevens for the rest of her life.

As for the $2.7 million in punitive damages, the amount seems a bit high, especially since Da Brat has already been "punished" by serving a three year prison stint. But the monetary award could deter from future violence: Da Brat's rap sheet also includes a prior pistol-whipping incident, according to E!.

Da Brat is still on probation for the bottle attack and can choose to appeal the damages award.

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