SALINAS CA Oct 11 2014 The families of two women who were run over in front of Natividad Medical Center in 2013 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several parties.
The civil lawsuit, filed in mid-September, targets the State of California, Monterey County, the hospital and several of its employees, as well as Francisco Miranda, who is accused of being the man behind the wheel of the car that hit and killed Cynthia Lane, 57, and Linda Rascon Williams, 24.
Jim Pocrass of Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP who represents some of Lane’s children and Williams’ mother in the lawsuit said the case is about people who are “mentally ill” and not being given the proper treatment.
The hospital’s “negligent acts include but are not limited to improperly discharging” Lane, who arrived at the hospital intoxicated about three hours prior to being discharged, according to the complaint.
Pocrass said Lane had a history of mental illness and was discharged by a nurse, Maria Jimenez, who did not have the authority to do so.
After being released, she went outside to flag down a car to get a ride home, but collapsed in the street.
Williams, who was a security guard at the hospital witnessed Lane’s fall outside of the hospital and tried to help her. That’s when the car driven by Miranda hit and killed both of them, police said.
Because Williams and Lane died in a public street and the hospital is considered a government entity, the complaint is holding the City of Salinas, the county and the state accountable, Pocrass said.
The families representation claim Lane and Williams would not have been run over if the defendants would’ve “properly discharged” Lane.
After the crash, police said Miranda left the scene, but returned shortly after in a car allegedly smelling of marijuana.
In addition to being named in the lawsuit, Miranda faces 34 years to life in prison if convicted of second degree murder and other charges related to this case. He also had two driving under the influence convictions earlier in 2013.
“Williams’ mother has been to every single hearing,” Pocrass said.
Miranda’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
The families also named Eugene Rodriguez, Lane’s son, and David Williams, Williams’ father, in the complaint. Pocrass said they were named not because the families want to sue them, but because they haven’t contacted Pocrass and the law requires them to be present in court because they have been involved in the case in the past.
Although the exact compensation in damages the family seeks is unknown, they are asking for funeral and burial expenses, attorney’s fees, “financial support in the future” and further compensation the “court may deem just.”
“We can’t evaluate the price on their lives at this point,” Pocrass said.
He said all the defendants have yet to respond to the complaint and have until Oct. 19 to file a written response in court.
A case progress conference has been scheduled for March, 24, 2015 at the Monterey County Superior Court, where a date for trial will likely be set.