Galveston cab co. sued after collision

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 6, 2008, 1:24pm

GALVESTON � A local man is suing a taxi company and one of its drivers for triggering a two-vehicle accident on a busy Galveston street that left five people injured.

Benny Rodriguez's lawsuit alleges Joseph Cesar Cadet, an employee of Tropical Taxi Inc., did not observe traffic rules and regulations.

The suit against Cadet and Tropical Taxi was filed in Galveston County District Court on July 29.

Court papers assert Cadet's reported negligence led him to collide with the vehicle carrying Rodriguez, driver Ann Garza and three minors on July 13.

"Plaintiff Ann Garza was operating a 1996 Chevrolet pickup northbound in the 1000 block of 61st Street in Galveston, Galveston County, Texas," the suit states. "Plaintiffs Benny Rodriguez, Zachary Rodriguez, Nathan Rodriguez, and Ethan Rodriguez were passengers in the pickup. A commercial vehicle ran a red light and struck the pickup causing plaintiffs severe injuries and damages."

According to the suit, Cadet could have prevented the accident, but failed to do the following:

  • Maintain a proper lookout;
  • Use the braking system;
  • Stop the company-issued vehicle;
  • Turn away from the plaintiffs' vehicle;
  • Control the company-issued vehicle;
  • Stay within the speed limit;
  • Obey applicable traffic signals or signs; and
  • Yield the right-of-way

    "The negligence of defendant Joseph Cesar Cadet was a proximate cause of the collision and plaintiffs' injuries and damages," it states.

    The plaintiffs accuse Tropical Taxi of granting Cadet access to one of its vehicles and failing to further scrutinize and train him, invoking the writ of respondeat superior.

    "Defendants' malicious and grossly negligent conduct justifies the imposition of punitive and exemplary damages both as punishment to defendants for their callous disregard and as a deterrent to others from engaging in similar conduct," the suit says.

    Vuk S. Vujasinovic of Vujasinovic & Beckcom LLP in Houston is representing the plaintiffs, who have requested a jury trial.

    Judge John Ellisor of the 122nd District Court is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 08CV0814

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