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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Family of Man Killed Outside Club Cocomo Gets $1.75 Million in Wrongful Death Suit

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 4:44 PM

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The family of a man who was killed in a shooting following a 2005 hip-hop show at the Dogpatch's Club Cocomo won a wrongful death suit against the club and others for $1.75 million.

Justin Mendoza, 21, caught a stray bullet after an early-morning altercation between a group of African Americans and Asians outside the Indiana Street club overwhelmed the untrained security on hand.

The judgment finds that the club and owner Daruka Wanigatunga owe the Mendoza family $1 million. While it's not clear yet what effect that may have on Club Cocomo (owners haven't returned a call from SF Weekly), laywers for the family say the judgment sends a message to club owners citywide.

"This should serve as a wake-up call to the clubs that cater to and profit from the violence-prone club-goers without taking any responsibility for the consequences," says David Anderson, who represented the Mendoza family. "The history of violence not only inside the club, but out on Indiana Street should have resulted in its closure years ago."

Anderson says that police records prove the club had a history of fighting, stabbings, and complaints of noise disturbances. It's also been called a hot spot for gangs, according to Anderson.

Read more at the Snitch, SF Weekly's news blog.

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Ian S. Port

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