Lawyers representing Charla Mack's family say yesterday's $590 million settlement is the largest non-commercial payout in state history; and while Charla's family is pleased with the verdict, they have their doubts about how much of that money will actually make it into their bank accounts.
Reno attorney Kent Robison represented the family and says he was surprised by the decision, but thinks the payout is an accurate representative of how much damage Darren Mack inflicted on his ex-wife and her family when he killed her nearly two years ago. But Robison concedes Charla's family will only get a small fraction of that record settlement.
"It's unlikely that kind of money will ever be paid," says Robison. "This jury exercise was not about paying money."
Robison says it was about bringing to light specifically how Darren Mack ruined an entire family; and even though the total amount won't be paid, Charla's family can rest assured that their community understands their loss.
"I told Surya Townley and her brother: this is a testament to their testimony," says Robison. "And their description of what they lost. Mostly, it's a testament to how they portrayed Erika Mack as the victim."
That's not to say some of the money won't be collected. Robison says most of Mack's assets and anything he stands to make will be given to Charla's family at the highest priority.
"Whatever happens in his future in respect to his assets, this judgment will be paid first," says Robison. "And there are assets out there. We will execute and collect as much of those means and assets with these judgments."
While others might focus on the difference between the verdict and the ultimate payout, Robison says the real message that comes from this decision is that justice has finally been served.
"The jury valued the reprehensibility of Mack's brutality," says Robison. "And valued what was left in the wake of that brutality and it's an excellent system and it's the way it should be done."
Darren Mack waived his right to appear in this case, saying he didn't have enough money to pay for an attorney.