The family of champion Australian rower and lifesaver Robert Scott have filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the US against the man they allege viciously attacked him on a California street.
Scott, 26, suffered severe traumatic brain injuries in the August 17, 2014, attack and nine months later is still blind, unable to walk or eat and has lost hearing in his left ear, according to the lawsuit.
The injuries inflicted on the physical education teacher from the mid-north coast NSW town of Pacific Palms were allegedly from a single, unprovoked punch by Fresno man Gilbert Romero.
Scott’s US lawyer, Benjamin Tryk, says it will cost between $US300,000 to $US400,000 ($A369,845 to $A493,127) per year to care for Scott.
“Robert Scott’s treating physician in Sydney has estimated that he will require around-the-clock medical care and supervision for the remainder of his life,” the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California states.
Prosecutors in the Californian city of Fresno opted not to charge Romero. Fresno is located between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Fresno’s chief deputy district attorney Greg Anderson told AAP in January there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the Australian, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24 after a long day of drinking, was unlawfully assaulted by Romero.
After taking a year off from his job as a PE teacher Scott spent time in Canada and the US and was planning on visiting Mexico.
In Fresno to visit a friend, Scott was walking along a residential street about 9pm when he approached a car and asked the occupants if they needed help, according to the lawsuit.
Romero and two relatives were allegedly in a nearby home.
“Kathy and Julio Gill yelled to Robert Scott from their window, ‘You’re in the wrong neighbourhood’ and then moments later, their brother, Gilbert Romero, ran from their residence and struck Robert Scott,” the lawsuit states.
Before he was hit Scott allegedly put his hands up and told Romero: “I don’t want any trouble”.
“Romero punched Scott, whose head hit the asphalt, and then drove away from the scene,” according to the lawsuit.
Following weeks in a Fresno hospital Scott’s family flew him back to Australia in an air ambulance, which pushed medical costs in excess of $US1 million.
Scott was a national junior champion rower.