SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 1 — A San Francisco Superior Court jury returned a verdict of over $27 million ($27,394,567) today for the victims of a Municipal Railway truck crash on February 11, 2003 that killed 4-year-old Elizabeth Dominguez and injured and severely traumatized her mother, the little girl’s best friend and her best friend’s grandmother.
The eight-woman, four-man jury awarded over $27 million in compensatory damages against the city of San Francisco after determining that the truck’s driver, Sebastian Garcia, was negligent and that he was 100 percent responsible for the accident. The jury heard over three weeks of testimony and deliberated for five full days.
The victim’s mother, Sylvia Lopez Dominguez, father, Humberto Dominguez, and two friends, Monica Valencia and her grandmother, Candelaria Valencia, were represented by the Los Angeles law firm of Panish Shea & Boyle by Brian J. Panish and Kevin R. Boyle and the Law Offices of Kirk B. Bernard, also in Los Angeles.
Little Elizabeth Dominguez died of head injuries after Garcia’s truck pinned her against the wall of a pizza restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District on Feb. 11, 2003. During trial, six eyewitnesses testified that Garcia deliberately ran a red light and attempted to accelerate through the intersection when his truck was struck by another vehicle and jumped the sidewalk where Elizabeth and her mother and friends were walking home from preschool.
After the verdict was read, plaintiff’s attorney Brian Panish noted that he requested a letter of apology from the Mayor for the families and the request was denied. “City officials still have never said they were sorry for the horror that Garcia’s negligence caused these families,” Panish said. This verdict was the second consecutive verdict in the last two months for Brian Panish that exceeded $25 million.