Hyun Ju Park, a bartender at King’s Sports Bar, was accidentally shot in the stomach by an off-duty Honolulu police officer in 2015 while he was drinking there with colleagues.
Newly filed court records show Park hasn’t fully recovered, and continues to receive medical treatment that so far has cost her insurance company more than $1 million.
Park’s attorney Eric Seitz, who filed a lawsuit in April, said her injuries are severe and that he believes that the cost of her medical care will continue to rise.
“We have medical bills totaling $1.5 million and growing,” Seitz said. “This lady was in the hospital for a long time and she was in intensive care for much of that.”
“She’s going to have substantial medical needs for the rest of her life,” he added. “She’s never going to fully recover. The damage to her internal organs is irreparable. She’ll never be able to work again as far as we know.”
Seitz’s lawsuit targets the city and several officers, including Anson Kimura, the off-duty cop who shot Park.
Kimura retired from the Honolulu Police Department as a sergeant with 25 years of experience but was eventually convicted of assault for shooting Park and sentenced to 60 days in jail.
The lawsuit states the Honolulu Police Department was culpable for Kimura’s actions because officials there should have known Kimura was emotionally unstable and had a history of drinking.
The lawsuit also alleged that HPD and police union representatives tried to cover up the incident and reduce the liability for Kimura, the department and at least two other officers who were at the bar, Sterling Naki and Joshua Omoso.
HPD records show that at least 10 officers were disciplined in relation to the alleged cover-up, including several supervisors. None of the officers was named in the records.
Earlier this month, Dongbu Insurance Co. filed a motion to intervene in Park’s lawsuit so that it could be reimbursed for what it had spent to keep her alive.
In court filings, Dongbu’s attorney Michele-Lynn Luke described Park’s injuries as “catastrophic,” and said the medical and rehabilitation costs alone amounted to $1,054,785.71 as of May 23.
The company spent an additional $52,618 in other benefits through the policy.
Luke refused to comment on the case.
Meanwhile, city attorneys have tried to distance themselves from Kimura, saying in court records that he was not acting under the “color of law” when he shot Park.
Deputy Corporation Counsel Tracy Fukui, who is the lead attorney for the city, was unavailable for comment Monday due to the King Kamehameha Day holiday.
Here’s what she had to say in court filings:
Plaintiff alleges Defendant Anson Kimura (“Defendant Kimura”) was partying at her workplace (Kings Sports Bar) at 1:45 a.m., when he accidentally shot her with a gun while in a drunken stupor. Under such facts, it is just and fair that she be able to recover damages from such tortfeasor, Defendant Anson Kimura (“Defendant Kimura”).
However, what is not just and fair, and what the law does not support – is recovery against this tortfeasor’s employer for an accident unrelated to his employment, not caused by the employer, and/or not a foreseeable consequence/risk of any employer action.
Kimura’s attorney, J. Patrick Gallagher, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
But in court records Gallagher has filed a cross-claim against the city saying that any negligence on the part of Kimura was the result of his actions “on behalf of his employer.”
He also said that any costs incurred by Kimura as a result of the lawsuit, including judgments and attorneys fees, should be paid by taxpayers.
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