The parents of a 21-year old man fatally shot outside a San Francisco nightclub in 2005 announced a $1.75 million settlement with the club’s owners, security firm and landlord today.
The settlement by Club Cocomo and other defendants with Eduardo and Denise Mendoza of Daly City was signed by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi today, said David Anderson, a lawyer for the Mendozas.
The couple’s son, Justin Mendoza, a coffee store worker at San Francisco International Airport, was shot and killed outside the Potrero Hill neighborhood nightclub at about 2 a.m. on March 21, 2005, following a hip-hop music event at the club.
The family’s wrongful death lawsuit alleged that after the event, a crowd of 200 to 600 young people, most of whom were teenagers or in their early 20s, poured into the surrounding neighborhood, and that the club and its security failed to prevent the violence that ensued.
Anderson said a confrontation developed between two groups and that Mendoza, who did not know any of the combatants, was killed by a bullet fired by one of the crowd members, Gerry Phongboupha.
Phongboupha, now 28, of Richmond, also wounded several other people. He was later convicted of the second-degree murder of Mendoza as well as three counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a firearm, and was sentenced to 74 years to life in prison.
The settlement includes a $1 million award to the parents from Club Cocomo; $500,000 from its security firm, K-Dubb Security; and $249,999 from the landlord, Abitsch & Abitsch LLC.
Anderson said, “Nightclub violence is a serious problem in San Francisco.
“The Mendoza family hopes this settlement will send a loud and clear message that enough is enough and that no family will have to suffer the loss of a loved one due to preventable violence,” the attorney said.
A lawyer for Club Cocomo was not available for comment.
Anderson said that the club is liable for its $1 million portion of the settlement, but because it does not appear to be able to pay the full amount, the club has assigned the Mendozas the right to sue its insurance company, Scottsdale Insurance Co., for the amount.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News