LAKEVIEW — A local restaurant worker who was run over by a fake Grubhub driver is suing the delivery company for allowing an unauthorized person to access its app.
Bijan Choya Early, 24, is suing Grubhub for at least $50,000 in damages for the May 15 attack that left her with a broken pelvis, two broken arms and fractures to both legs, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court.
The incident occurred during a shift at her mother’s restaurant, Ms. T’s Southern Fried Chicken, 3343 N. Broadway.
The suit accuses Grubhub of being negligent in allowing 30-year-old Aamir Mohammed to access another person’s account to pick up and deliver orders for the service without a valid driver’s license. She demands a trial by jury.
Attorneys from Corboy & Demetrio, who are representing Early, said she suffered nerve damage to her arms that prevents her from using both hands. She had been planning on using sign language to become a teacher for the hearing impaired.
“How can an unauthorized person know what restaurant to go to, when to go there and in whose name the order is?” attorney Francis Patrick Murphy said in a statement. “Seems like Grubhub just did not properly vet this person or keep its platform properly secured. How many other ‘alleged unauthorized drivers’ are delivering for Grubhub?”
A spokeswoman for Grubhub declined to comment on the pending litigation. An earlier statement from the company said Mohammed was not a registered Grubhub driver, but the driver who owned the account Mohammed was using also has been banned from the platform.
“Our thoughts are with the victim and her family, and we wish her a speedy recovery,” the spokeswoman said last month. “We run rigorous background and motor vehicle checks before contracting with any driver, among other security features. We are committed to continuously reviewing and evolving our practices to prevent fraud and ensure safety and security for the Grubhub community.”
Mohammed was picking up an order from Ms. T’s on May 15 when employees asked him to wait outside until the food was ready in order to comply with social distancing requirements. He got angry, “aggressively kicked the front glass door” and returned to his car, prosecutors said during Mohammed’s bail hearing last month.
Early and her mother, Angenita Tanner, followed him outside. Mohammed started yelling at them and threatening to run them over with his car, prosecutors said. Another customer who was waiting for food saw the altercation and started filming with his cellphone.
In the video, an exasperated Early and her mother can be heard telling Mohammed, “We’re waiting on the police for you, baby, because you just kicked our door. This is too much disrespect that we get on a day-to-day, and we’re just trying to be essential workers and feed people. This is ridiculous.”
Mohammed hit the gas, driving into Early and dragging her 20 to 30 feet before running her over, prosecutors said. He fled the scene but later turned himself in at the Chicago Police Department’s Town Hall District.
Early was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she had surgery on both arms, authorities said.
A GoFundMe campaign set up by the Lakeview East Community Partnership, an independent fundraising arm for the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, has raised more than $20,000 for Early’s family.
“Anyone that knows Bijan and Ms. T knows that they are some of the most kind people in the Lakeview East Community. We want to do whatever it takes to help their family during this time,” the fundraiser page says.
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