Attorneys settle suit by former San Francisco zookeeper mauled by tiger

Attorneys settle suit by former San Francisco zookeeper mauled by tiger

Bay City News Service
Posted: 01/16/2009 05:02:02 PM PST

Attorneys have settled a lawsuit filed against the city of San Francisco by a former San Francisco zookeeper severely injured in 2006 by the same tiger that fatally mauled a visitor in 2007.

Lori Komejan filed a civil lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court in 2007 for unspecified financial damages, after her arms were clawed and bitten by a Siberian tiger named Tatiana during a public feeding event at the zoo on Dec. 22, 2006.

The case had been scheduled to go to trial Tuesday, but attorneys for Komejan, now 48, and the city reached an agreement on a settlement on last month, court records show.

The terms of the financial settlement, which has not yet been finalized, were not disclosed.

“The case was resolved to the satisfaction of both sides,” one of Komejan’s attorneys, Michael Mandel, said today.

Attorneys representing the city in the case declined requests for comment.

Komejan’s lawsuit alleged the zoo, a public-private partnership between the city of San Francisco and the non-profit San Francisco Zoological Society, created an unsafe condition by failing to install effective safeguards for the tiger cage.

During a public feeding in the lion house, Tatiana reached through the cage and grabbed Komejan, who was standing outside and had bent down to pick up a scrap of raw meat that had fallen outside the cage, according to Mandel.

Her attorneys said she was permanently disfigured, lost some of the
use of her right arm, and has undergone multiple surgeries and skin grafts.

The zoo subsequently closed the lion house and remodeled the cages, reopening it in September 2007.

On Dec. 25, 2007, Tatiana leapt out of the tiger grotto and fatally mauled 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr., of San Jose, and severely injured two of his friends, brothers Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal, also of San Jose.

The tiger was then shot dead by police.

Attorneys for the Sousa and Dhaliwal families have also filed lawsuits against the zoo and the city.

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