MTA considers $21M payout in ’03 Muni death

A $21 million settlement for the death of a 4-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a Muni maintenance truck in 2003 will be discussed Tuesday in a closed-door session by board members of the Municipal Transportation Agency.

Elizabeth Dominguez was killed when a maintenance truck driven by Muni employee Sebastian Garcia spun out of control and crushed her against a building wall as she walked home from preschool with family and friends.

In September of 2005, a San Francisco jury deemed Garcia negligent and awarded more than $20 million to Dominguez’s father, Humberto, and mother, Sylvia Lopez. Candelaria Valencia and Monica Valencia, two of Dominguez’s family friends who were also injured in the incident, were awarded more than $6 million in the decision.

The City Attorney’s Office appealed the decision, however, and lowered the settlement total to $21 million, according to city attorney spokeswoman Alexis Thompson. No money has yet been handed over to any of the four plaintiffs in the suit, Thompson said.

If the MTA’s board of directors decides to approve the settlement offer they will have three fiscal years to make the $21 million payment, Thompson said. If the board decides to not approve, different terms of the settlement will be sought and litigation will continue, Thompson said.

Humberto Dominguez could not be reached for comment Friday, and calls to his attorney, Kevin Boyle, were not returned. Through a translator, Dominguez spoke to The Examiner in February of 2005 following the death of his daughter.

“Life is very different now,” Dominguez said. “A part of me has been taken away. It’s like being alive and being dead at the same time.”

wreisman@examiner.com

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