Muni target of lawsuit by slain San Francisco woman's family 

click to enlarge Mourning Emily Dunn: Family members comfort each other at a makeshift memorial for Emily Dunn, who was struck and killed by a Muni shuttle bus. (Examiner file photo) - MOURNING EMILY DUNN: FAMILY MEMBERS COMFORT EACH OTHER AT A MAKESHIFT MEMORIAL FOR EMILY DUNN, WHO WAS STRUCK AND KILLED BY A MUNI SHUTTLE BUS. (EXAMINER FILE PHOTO)
  • Mourning Emily Dunn: Family members comfort each other at a makeshift memorial for Emily Dunn, who was struck and killed by a Muni shuttle bus. (Examiner file photo)
  • Mourning Emily Dunn: Family members comfort each other at a makeshift memorial for Emily Dunn, who was struck and killed by a Muni shuttle bus. (Examiner file photo)

The family of Emily Dunn, the 23-year-old woman who was fatally struck by a Muni bus last month, intends to file a civil claim this week against The City in response to the incident.

Dunn was killed after being hit by a Muni shuttle bus on Aug. 19 while she was crossing Hartford Street in the Castro district. Agency officials have said that the bus operator was driving on the wrong street at the time of the accident.

The operator has been placed on nondriving status while the agency and the San Francisco Police Department investigate the event.

Michael Kelly, a lawyer representing the Dunns, said the family will submit a claim regarding the accident later this week.

Filing a claim is the first step in filing a lawsuit against The City. The City Attorney’s Office considers a claim and decides whether to accept it and make a settlement, or issue a denial, which can lead toward litigation in court.

Serious injuries and deaths involving Muni vehicles typically lead to expensive payouts. In 2008, the agency released $21 million to the family of Elizabeth Dominguez, a 4-year-old girl who was struck and killed by an agency utility truck. Earlier this year, the agency approved a $5.4 million settlement to David Wheeler for injuries he sustained after being struck by a Muni bus while on his bike.

Last week, the agency’s board of directors signed off on more than $500,000 in injury claims related to two separate accidents. Nicola Alioto, who was hurt in a February 2010 accident, will receive $275,000 from the agency, and Yim Lau, who was injured in an April 2009 incident, will receive $250,000, according to the City Attorney’s Office, which handles litigation for Muni.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, has catastrophic insurance coverage that covers any injury claims ranging between $5 million and $25 million. All other payouts come from its operating budget.

An Atlanta native, Dunn had been living in San Francisco for less than a month when she was killed. She moved to The City to take a job with Superfly, an event production company.

After her death, Dunn’s family set up a makeshift memorial at the scene of the accident. Dunn’s father Chris told The San Francisco Examiner at the time the family was still trying to make sense of the accident “that took our wonderful little girl.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

 

Large payouts

Major Muni claims settled this year:

  • $5.36M To David Wheeler for November 2008 accident
  • $250,000 To Yim Lau for April 2009 accident
  • $275,000 To Nicola Alioto for February 2010 accident
  • $780.6M SFMTA operating budget*

*All aforementioned claims will be paid out through operating budget

Sources: SFMTA, city attorney

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Will Reisman

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