Alexandria Yellow Cab claims it could not have known one of its drivers was dangerous and that the suspect in the February shooting of Alexandria Police Officer Peter Laboy was an independent contractor and not an employee of the cab company, according to court papers.
Laboy, who was shot in the head Feb. 27 while responding to an incident involving an Alexandria Yellow Cab driver, filed a complaint in June alleging the taxi company was negligent in the hiring and supervision of its drivers and that such negligence contributed to his shooting.
The company made its claims about the driver, Kashif Bashir of Woodbridge, in a demurrer seeking to dismiss the civil suit filed by Laboy against the company.
The suit seeks $10 million in compensatory damages—$5 million for one count of negligent hiring and retention and $5 million for one count of negligent entrustment. The complaint cites damages of lost wages, medical fees and compensation for mental anguish, pain and suffering.
A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28 at 10 a.m.
The demurrer, filed by Chap Petersen of Surovell, Isaacs,
Petersen and Levy PLC on behalf of Alexandria Yellow Cab, says Laboy’s
complaint is devoid of any facts to show Bashir’s actions were foreseeable to
Alexandria Yellow Cab.
“There is no allegation of any actual violence ever committed by Bashir, on anyone, at any time prior to Laboy’s injury,” reads the demurrer. “Mere non-violent traffic infractions, a misdemeanor charge, and an isolated report of supposedly ‘threating’ behavior, simply do not establish any habit or pattern of conduct for violence.”
The demurrer states Bashir was an independent contractor of the cab company and was off-duty at the time of the incident.
The document also says Bashir underwent the required background check for cab drivers in Alexandria prior to the issuance of his driver’s permit.
“In Bashir’s case, the police and hack inspector were satisfied with the results of the background check and accordingly issued him a permit,” the demurrer reads. “Alexandria Yellow Cab reasonably relied on the results of the police and hack inspector investigations. … Accordingly, the allegations of Alexandria Yellow Cab’s negligence are without merit as a matter of law.”
David Martin, the Atlanta-based attorney representing Laboy, submitted its opposition on Tuesday saying the demurrer:
“Rather than address the substance of Laboy’s allegations, AYC in its motions presents highly technical legal arguments—which we believe lack merit—which seek to evade the actual claims made by Laboy,” he wrote in a message to Patch. “Further, AYC has refused to divulge information requested by Laboy regarding its hiring and personnel practices, which Laboy believe will shed light on AYC’s irresponsible business practices.”
Laboy, 45, of Alexandria, was responding to a look-out from the department for a yellow cab minivan for a minor offense on Feb. 27 when he was shot in the head.
Soon after Laboy approached the cab, the Department of Emergency Communications began receiving emergency calls reporting an officer down.
Laboy was flown to Medstar Washington Hospital Center from the fields outside of Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy and had several hours of immediate surgery.
The driver of the cab fled the scene at Wilkes and St. Asaph streets and a patrol officer spotted the vehicle going south on Washington Street into Fairfax County.
A police chase ensued and Fairfax County Police took over the chase when the cab entered their jurisdiction. The cab crashed off Fort Hunt Road and Bashir was arrested.
Laboy was released from the hospital in late April and has undergone multiple surgeries and intensive therapy. According to the complaint, Laboy suffered severe and permanent debilitating injuries and life-long pain and suffering because of the injury.
Bashir was indicted in May on one count of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, one count of aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Bashir, 27, was found incompetent to stand trial in June. He suffers from auditory hallucinations and other mental health issues, according to his defense attorneys.
A review of the case has been set for Jan.