Victim's family settles in San Francisco nightclub shooting 

click to enlarge Cafe Cocomo was placed on an Entertainment Commission watch list last year. (Examiner file photo) - CAFE COCOMO WAS PLACED ON AN ENTERTAINMENT COMMISSION WATCH LIST LAST YEAR. (EXAMINER FILE PHOTO)
  • Cafe Cocomo was placed on an Entertainment Commission watch list last year. (Examiner file photo)
  • Cafe Cocomo was placed on an Entertainment Commission watch list last year. (Examiner file photo)

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.”

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

Trouble spot

The Entertainment Commission placed Cafe Cocomo on a watch list last year due to violence.

  • April 2011: Five people are cut while trying to break up a fight
  • October 2010: A 23-year-old man is shot inside the venue
  • September 2009: Two people are grazed by bullets outside

Source: Examiner reports

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Amy Crawford

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Sunday, Jan 25, 2015

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