This past October 4, ten people were hurt when a Toyota Camry careened onto the sidewalk and plowed through Lemoni Café's unlicensed outdoor seating area on NE Second Avenuein Buena Vista. According to a lawsuit filed November 17, three of the victims are suing the restaurant, as well as 3G Investment Group Inc., which owns the property where Lemoni operates, and Belony Alterma, the driver, for three counts of negligence.
Based on the legal documents, one of the plaintiffs, Erika Vila, was pregnant with twins at the time of the crash. The incident occurred while Vila was having brunch with the two other plaintiffs, Virmari Pettis and Maria Sosa. Though the nature of their injuries isn't stated in the complaint, it indicates Vila was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment, while Pettis was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Both were later discharged and received care from their own physicians.
In the complaint, some of victims' allegations toward Lemoni Café and 3G Investmount Group Inc. are that they "placed a sidewalk café in an area with insufficient width to accommodate the safety of its customers" and "failed to properly obtain a permit to operate a sidewalk café."
Meanwhile, the legal papers show the 71-year-old driver is being sued for his negligent actions such as "driving inattentively" and "plowing into tables and café guests."
According to the lawsuit, the three plaintiffs are seeking financial compensation for the physical, mental, and emotional damages they suffered due to the accident. The damages include medical treatment, lost wages, disfigurement, and mental anguish.
The plaintiffs' lawyer, Howard Kraft Pita of Pita & Del Prado, said he would like to wait until next week to discuss the case. Maria Pelati, the owner of Lemoni Café, could not be reached for comment.
In an earlier report from Local 10 News, the City of Miami's director of public works, Ed Santamaria, said there are numerous requirements for obtaining a permit to offer outdoor seating, and one of them is having a ten-food-wide sidewalk. "In this case, that condition does not exist at that location," he said, "so they would not have been granted a permit."
"This is a home for everybody, and this is what happened outside," Pelati told Local 10. "It is like it happened to me, like one of the members of my family."