Lawyer says neighbor will appeal Rand Paul’s $580K judgment

‘This far exceeds anything that we were expecting,’ Rene Boucher’s attorney says

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., thought he might die after he was tackled onto his lawn by his neighbor in 2017, breaking six ribs. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., thought he might die after he was tackled onto his lawn by his neighbor in 2017, breaking six ribs. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted January 31, 2019 at 8:39am

The neighbor who tackled and injured Sen. Rand Paul over a dispute about lawn care will appeal the $580,000 judgement against him, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Rene Boucher charged toward the Kentucky senator and knocked him to the ground in late 2017, leaving him with six broken ribs and an injured lung.

The two day trial ended after a 90-minute deliberation by the jury. Jurors awarded Paul $375,000 in punitive damages, $200,000 for pain and suffering, and an additional $7,834 for medical expenses, The Associated Press reported.

“We all expected that Sen. Paul would get a verdict in his favor,” Matt Baker, Boucher’s lawyer, told the wire service. “This far exceeds anything that we were expecting.”

Boucher testified in December that a brush pile on Paul’s property he “conservatively” estimated to measure 10 feet long and 5 feet high became a source of intense aggravation.

During the trial, Boucher described the moment his anger over the eyesore boiled over and he launched at his neighbor as “two minutes of my life I wish I could take back.” 

In his testimony, Paul, a former presidential candidate, said he struggled to breathe in the moments after the attack and described a “living hell” for weeks after as he recovered from the rib fractures and two bouts of pneumonia, the Bowling Green Daily News reported.

But Baker noted that Paul had not been hospitalized after his injury, seeking outpatient care and taking ibuprofen for his injuries, according to the paper.

Medical records showed Dr. Brian Monahan, attending physician of the U.S. Congress, noted by December 2017, one month after the attack, that Paul appeared to be moving without difficulty and was taking no pain medication, Baker said.

By February 2018, Paul had resumed golfing, skiing and yard work, the senator testified, but the fractured ribs limited his activity.

“This lawsuit wasn’t about me. It was about all of us and what we find acceptable as a society. We need to send a clear message that violence is not the answer — anytime, anywhere,” Paul tweeted Wednesday. “It’s never ok to turn those disagreements into violent, aggressive anger. I hope that’s the message from today.”

One Twitter user asked if he would donate the sum to charity, but the senator did not reply.

In a criminal case, Boucher pleaded guilty to federal charges of assaulting a member of Congress earlier this year and has already served 30 days in prison and paid a $10,000 fine. But he could eventually face harsher penalties, as U.S. attorneys have appealed and advocated for a 21-month sentence.

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