Injured man files lawsuit against SLO firefighter

June 8, 2013
John Ryan Mason

John Ryan Mason

The man beaten unconscious by a San Luis Obispo firefighter filed a civil lawsuit on May 31. [Tribune]

In June 2011, John Ryan Mason, 34, allegedly beat Jory Brigham, 32, unconscious in a bathroom after an eight-month rift stemming from claims the firefighter was having an affair with a local policeman’s wife. Mason had no injuries while Brigham had 17 fractures in his face.

The lawsuit names John Mason, his wife Kendra Mason and Pappy McGregor’s Bar & Grill as defendants. Brigham is seeking unspecified compensatory damages to cover medical costs and wages lost, plus damages for pain and suffering.

Following the alleged assault, John Mason fled the scene and was arrested by San Luis Obispo police five days later.

In the lawsuit, Brigham’s attorney Greg Coates says that Kendra Mason knew her husband planned to hurt Brigham before the bathroom altercation.

During a criminal trial that ended in a hung jury, Kendra Mason testified she felt some guilt about her husband’s legal issues because prior to the altercation, John Mason had called a taxi to take them home, and she had refused to get into the cab because she thought the driver was rude.

However, in previous interviews the cab driver said John Mason was combative and he refused to give him a ride home.

Kendra Mason also testified that her husband told her Brigham was the aggressor, before escorting her from the bar following the altercation.

John Mason has a history of physical assaults including an incident in 1997 when he allegedly bashed another man over the head with a full bottle of champagne during a wedding in Los Osos.


What an outrage that Mason was rehired. It remains suspect how and why this opportunity was afforded him given his reckless and dangerous judgement and behavior.

I hope Mr. Brigham is finally compensated for his pain and suffering. Perhaps now that Mason has secured a source of income, he now has ability to pay out on a settlement. This reminds me of the OJ case. At the end of the day, despite his not innocent status, we all knew OJ was guilty and would strike again. I truly hope Mason never kills anyone, but I’m afraid he is capable and knowing this makes the world a less safe place for me. How ironic that the job of a hero is now tainted and skewed to such an extent that it makes a mockery of the entire enforcement agency. Shame on them. As for Mason, I know he will continue on the path of destruction. Mark my words, once the dust settles and he is back to cheating on his enabling wife, his family will live to regret standing by him. As for the fire dept. it will be covered and buried by a larger political body who has other motives the public is not aware of.


we all knew OJ was guilty

except for, and most importantly the jury.

Spirit Filled

Fire all of them. The butt-kissing district attorney and etc. Won’t happen, we all know it so might as well stop whimpering about it. Thank God I have a golden retriever to protect me if anyone tries to attack me. He will slobber them to death.


Ted Slanders

Spirit Drained,

You’re not a true Christian if you have to depend upon a canine to protect you! What happened to your Christian faith and the power of prayer?

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22)

If a deranged type like Ryan Mason attacks you, all you have to do is quickly pray for it to stop and it will be done. BUT, if you don’t have enough “faith”, then it will continue. Get it?

I suggest thal you work on the “faith” part of your belief, so to be sure of the act of prayer will actually work.

You’re welcome.


Sadly, Mr. Mason’s fellow firefighters are the most likely to be in danger from his out of control revenge behavior. Can he be trusted to look after the safety of his crew if he is mad about something they said?

Can they expect to get beaten to a pulp outside work if he goes off on them?

Living and working with this guy will affect the entire fire department. Don’t attend parties or functions where Mason may be drinking, and use the buddy system when you use the restroom.

I still think that “roid rage” or drugs may have been part of Mason’s problems. He wasn’t drug tested until 4 days after the incident.


This whole situation reflects some of the major problems we have with society. Only a true punk with trained martial arts would beat the living crap out of a guy who obviously didn’t stand a chance. I really hate paying any taxes that benefit the stupid city of SLO who employs this punk. I also have zero respect for the jury who believed him to be innocent. I also very very, very sorry to the people who have to deal with him in an emergency situation when their house is on fire or something of that nature. However, one day this punk will start a fight with the wrong guy and catch a bullet or a knife which is what he deserves. Screw him and his wife.

Old Salt

I don’t see how John

Ryan or Kendra Mason can

live with themselves…! ! !

I’d bet his boss UniChief Charlie Hines and many UNION members actually believe that

the Mixed Martial Arts Fire FIGHTER Mason to be the victim in his ASSULT

against Jory Brigham.

I heard it from a very good source that Mason trained at a

local MMA Guy and knows how to

Ki-ll a person with his bare hands and elbows and I was

wondering why the Prosecutor didn’t look into that aspect of his life.

Read more here:


In public safety employment candidates, a primary concern is judgement. People are not perfect, and the hiring background process takes that into account. However, failures in judgement and critical thinking are the famous ‘red-line’ that rightfully block the hiring for such critical assignments.

Would you knowingly allow this man to make decisions affecting your life, or the lives of your family?


I support Mr. Brigham and don’t think Mr. Mason should’ve been re-hired…BUT why is Pappy McGregor’s liable? Why name them in the lawsuit?


When you go to pappy’s you have a reasonable expectation that you will be alright, if you are injured there is some fraction of responsibility that the court and jury will decide .


You’re absolutely right zaphod. As such, if someone is robbed, assaulted or raped in a particular city, that city ought to be partially liable for the crime because the victim’s expectation of safety wasn’t met. That’s basically what you’re saying, right?

It’s because of mindsets like yours that we live in a super-litigious society now. I hope you NEVER get to serve on a jury, ever!


Thanks I like being right, I learned this during a jury selection process here in SLO!

I suppose you have a better suggestion?


In that case, I would think that Pappy’s would have the right and obligation to the public to ban Mason from the establishment in the future. Right?


Give it time. Mr Mason most likely does not have enough liability insurance(if any) and Pappy’s will become the deep pocket. In California, if you breath you get named.


This is at the root of business license / regulation painfully un fair in individual instances however community wise the best way for everyone involved over time.


Not much that the Pappy’s in San Luis could have done to prevent this tragedy.

But maybe this is KARMA for the Pappy’s in Paso where the employees stood around and watched one of their customers get beat up and not call the police and was dragged off to the rail road tracks by his attackers where he was found DEAD.


If Mason was a new recruit candidate, and a background check revealed that he had been arrested and charged with assault, and had a history of violence, would the SLO Fire Dept. hire him?


If he is found guilty in the civil suit (trial) we he then be fired?


Excellent excellent observation. We all know Paul Brown said that he couldn’t possibly be hired as an Officer with an assault record in his background- aren’t Firemen held to the same regard?


It’s not a “record” until a conviction is recorded. Not to say he should not have been convicted in this case. I think he should have and a think the DA’s office is corrupt. They were forced into this prosecution by public pressure and there was no desire to obtain a conviction.


YOU THINK? the DA office is CORRUPT !!


They didn’t “re-hire” him. They “re-instated” him. God, I’m so sick of correcting stupid people.


Reinstatement implies his previous status has been returned to him. Getting less pay, a demotion, and giving the city the green light to charge him with “any related offenses” (real life translation: ANY accusations) for the next five years is not the kind of return he should have negotiated.


City unions still wag the city dog…


“THEN WHY DID THEY REHIRE HIM?” I for one think that the Chief felt his back was up against the wall; the city manager, city attorney and Mayor Marx all probably realize how inept our glorious city attorney is and knew that if Mason did go to court to get his job back, the city attorney would blow it, period. Most likely they all thought this was going to be the least expensive alternative in this situation; if Mason had sued and won, he would have probably won back wages, his job back at the same wage level, and possibly even some sort of settlement for (gag) “pain and suffering”. I do believe that the Chief could have stood up to city management and refused to hire him back, but he might have been shown the door himself.

As to the union’s involvement; most likely the union representative fought long and hard to get Mason his job back- that is the job of the union representative, no matter what a union employee is fired for. I think that most of us agree that the rehiring of Mason was a travesty of justice, but to “blame” the union for doing what it is supposed to do when a member is fired goes a little too far, IMO. And you might just ask around to see if the regular members of the union agreed with this decision; I’ll wager that most of them do not want Mason back on the job.


I hope Mr. Brigham wins this suit. Criminal justice wasn’t served so there has to be some civil remediation. This is going to be quite similar to the O.J. Simpson case, where jury nullification produced a not guilty verdict but a civil suit was able to extract a lot of money from him. Mr. Mason needs a good knock over the head, financially, to teach him that his bad temper will not serve him well the rest of his life…


Agreed, Mr. Mason has a bad temper. I have chosen to disassociate myself from a couple of people based on my disapproval of their personal behavior. I can attend the same event with them, be cordial, and we all know how we feel about one another yet not get into a fight. Mr. Brigham might have chosen to do so with Mr. Mason. This does not excuse Mr. Mason’s actions, which are apparently a pattern in response to personal drama.