2011 crash could force Russian Hill market to close

August 1, 2013 6:41:51 PM PDT
A small mom and pop market is struggling to keep its doors open after a car slammed into the store almost two years ago. It happened on San Francisco's Russian Hill and the legal fight that's followed has nearly driven the owners out of business.

On October 27, 2011, surveillance video caught a Yellow Cab as it ran the stop sign and clipped a sedan that then spun through the intersection and into the front of the new Russian Hill market. Three days after the accident, the owners were throwing out food and thinking that this accident might cost them months of business.

"Could be a month, could be two months, could be six months," said store owner Ramiz Hinn in 2011.

They never guessed it'd be 10 months before the store could reopen. The building owner's insurance paid to repair the entrance and the store's insurance company paid $121,000 for loss of business, but the store's owners say it's not nearly enough.

"We had bills. You know you have to pay the PG&E bill, you have to pay your insurance, you have to pay whatever bills that come through the door," said Hinn.

If customers were coming through the door, the two brothers who run the store say they could survive, but in the 10 months they were closed, a lot of the regulars found somewhere else to shop.

"You close for 10 months, people get on other buses to go to other stores," said Hinn.

Now the shelves are sparsely stocked. The two brothers say they've run out of capital to restock and they blame Yellow Cab for dragging out the legal fight.

"We're just not sure why they don't want to sit down and you know talk about settling the case," said Hinn.

The lawyer for Yellow Cab told us: "There is a dispute as to the damages claimed over and above the insurance proceeds. The insurance company has recently filed its own action and the two cases will be consolidated. Yellow Cab is prepared to attend a mediation to resolve all issues raised."

But in fact, it could be many more months. The brothers want damages amounting to a little more than $1 million. And because their insurance company only recently filed its own action, the December trial date will likely be pushed to the middle of next year.

"There's just no way, no way that we could hold out till next year," said Hinn.

The bothers say their family has had the business for close to 20 years. This market crash could close them.


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