SAN FRANCISCO–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–March 11, 2003–Humberto Dominguez and his wife, Sylvia Lopez, filed a Government Claim for Damages today in San Francisco Superior Court against the City and County of San Francisco for the wrongful death of their 4-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Dominguez. Claimants, including their infant son Michael, also seek damages for personal injury, infliction of emotional distress, and negligence, among other claims. The San Francisco Municipal Railway and Sebastian Garcia are also named as respondents. Claimants are represented by Brian J. Panish and Kevin Boyle, with the Santa Monica, CA law firm of Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, LLP (http://www.gbpwlaw.com), and Kirk B. Bernard with The Law Offices of Kirk B. Bernard in Marina del Rey, CA. Dominguez vs. City of San Francisco, et. al.
On February 11, 2003, exactly one month before her 5th birthday, Elizabeth Dominguez finished her preschool class at Buena Vista Alternative Elementary School in San Francisco’s Mission District, and was walking home with her mother and baby brother, Michael. They were on the sidewalk near the intersection of 24th Street and Potrero Avenue when Muni Railway truck driver Sebastian Garcia allegedly ran a red light, hit another vehicle, and then headed toward the corner pizza parlor. Before Sylvia could pull her family to safety, the truck crushed Elizabeth into the pizza parlor wall and struck Sylvia on the leg, causing physical injury to her and Michael. They and others at the scene witnessed Elizabeth’s death, and saw her mutilated body embedded in the wall of the pizza parlor.
Claimants allege that the City and County of San Francisco had been on notice that the intersection at 24th Street and Potrero was dangerous, but failed to cure the problem. They also allege that Sebastian Garcia drove recklessly and, as an employee of Respondents, his conduct must be attributed to them, and Respondents were negligent in hiring and retaining him as an employee.
“Today, our beautiful Elizabeth would have been five,” said her father, Humberto Dominguez. “On this saddest of days, we wish to commemorate her short life by asking the people in every community in America to answer this question: Are there dangerous, busy streets near your child’s school? If the answer is yes, don’t hesitate for even a second to do what it takes to make those streets safer. The cost is nothing compared to the loss of a beloved child.”
“I cannot understand why the San Francisco Police Department has not even cited or arrested the man whose reckless driving killed my Elizabeth,” said her mother, Sylvia Lopez. “We would like to see a full investigation into this accident. They owe this not only to us, but to the people of San Francisco. Please, don’t let our daughter’s death be in vain.”
“The full brunt of responsibility for Elizabeth’s death and the injuries her family has suffered falls squarely on the City and County of San Francisco,” said Brian Panish. “They failed to monitor their employee and failed to take preventative measures to make a known, dangerous intersection safer for the public. What the Dominguez family is suffering is unconscionable. We see this lawsuit as sending a strong message to discourage this type of conduct in the future, and are proud to stand behind this family and to see to it that they have their day in court.”
Editor’s Note: California law requires that a Government Claim for Damages be filed first when suing a City or County. If they deny the claim, as is usually the case in matters of this magnitude, a civil lawsuit can be filed in Superior Court.
Editor’s Note: The Government Claim for Damages can be found on the homepage of http://www.gbpwlaw.com.
Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, LLP
Kathy Pinckert, 310/562-0691 (24-hours)