The Briad Group, which operates 68 TGI Fridays restaurants in 26 states, got a big surprise: it ain’t always Friday in court. The company is on the losing end of a $40M judgment as a result of the stabbing death of an innocent patron by an underage drinker.
The unfortunate victim, Orlando Jordan, was at the Riverside, California eatery with his new girlfriend who just happened to be the mother of one of his killers. Michael Derek Castillo, age 20, didn’t approve of the relationship. That fateful evening in 2009, he and a friend showed up at TGI Fridays at roughly 1:30 am to find Jordan and Castillo’s mom together.
Words were exchanged, followed by the throwing of some punches and ending with Jordan being stabbed multiple times in the upper body. Jordan, an 11-year employee of Wells Fargo Bank, didn’t survive the altercation. Castillo and friend were taken into custody. Both men pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and are currently in prison, where one also hears it ain’t always Friday.
The civil suit was brought by Jordan’s parents, Rey and Carmen Jordan. Rey is a Marine Corps Vietnam vet and Riverside community leader. The Jordan’s suit alleged that TGI Fridays was deliberately serving alcohol to already drunk minors. Unfortunately for the Briad Group, the restaurant’s head bartender testified that the staff was instructed to suspend checking IDs on Friday and Saturday nights in an effort to increase profits.
Mmhmm. Check, please!
The jurors were so offended by TGI Fridays’ disregard for the law – and human life – that they stayed after the trial to speak with Keith Bruno, the Jordan’s attorney. He says, “Each juror expressed that they felt they had done something good—that they could be proud of. They were appalled by what was going on at the TGI Fridays and they wanted their verdict to reflect the value of human life in Riverside County.”
I salute you, jurors! Well done, indeed! I’m so proud of you for bringing some justice to the Jordan family and showing the Briad Group it’s not above the law that I’d like to take you out to lunch. Just not TGI Fridays. I hear they’re charging $45.00 a plate for nachos these days.