A Hollywood couple whose son was killed in a 1989 Salt Lake bar brawl filed a civil suit recently against the man who threw the fatal punch and his parents.
The suit accused John Tavo Leota of negligence in the March 18, 1989, death of college student Malik Smith. Smith is the son of actress Beverly Todd and producer Kris Keiser. The couple brought the suit against Leota five months after Leota finished an eight-month jail sentence for Smith's death.The couple sued Leota and his parents for $1 million. Leota's parents knew their son had a substantial juvenile record yet failed to adequately supervise him, the suit said.
The Leotas filed an answer to the suit denying that Leota killed Smith. Their response also denied that they were negligent in their supervision of Leota.
Instead, the Leotas said Smith's own conduct led to his death. Leota punched Smith in the face during a dispute at Club 35, a West Valley dance club. Smith fell backward to the floor and struck his head. He died two days later of brain damage. Both men were 18 at the time of the incident.