The family of a 21-year-old bystander killed by a stray bullet outside a Dogpatch nightclub has settled a lawsuit against the venue and its security company for $1.75 million, lawyers for both sides said Monday.
Justin Mendoza was shot outside Cafe Cocomo, at 650 Indiana St., in March 2005 during a confrontation between other patrons.
Four other bystanders were wounded when Gerry Phongboupha fired a gun into a crowd of revelers loitering outside the club after a hip-hop show. Phongboupha was later convicted of murder.
“Nightclub owners cannot just sweep the usual trash down the street,” said David Anderson, a lawyer for Mendoza’s parents, Eduardo and Denise. “It’s a pretty loud, clear message that if this continues, it’s going to cost them money.”
The total payout includes a $1 million settlement with Cafe Cocomo, a $500,000 settlement with K-Dubb Security and a $250,000 settlement with the club’s landlord.
Russell Robinson, a lawyer for Cafe Cocomo, said the club would not have to pay anything because the Mendozas will pursue the $1 million from its insurance company. He said the club settled because it could not afford a trial.
“Justin Mendoza was shot down the street; it’s hard to make a case against the club,” Robinson said. “But Mr. Anderson’s a very aggressive attorney.”
The Entertainment Commission placed Cafe Cocomo on a watch list last year due to violence.
Source: Examiner reports