Saturday, November 18 , 2017, 9:56 am | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Family of Local Barista Files Wrongful Death Suit Against City of Santa Barbara, State Agencies

Parents allege Jordan Soto, 24, would have lived if not for a 9-1-1 system failure

The family of a beloved local barista has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Santa Barbara and several state agencies, alleging that a faulty 9-1-1 call system led emergency personnel to the wrong address the night she collapsed and later died.

The 20-minute delay made all the difference earlier this year, according to the civil suit, which was filed last month and alleged gross negligence on the part of Karen Wong, assistant director of California Public Safety Communications, the 9-1-1 Advisory Board Work Group, the State of California, the California Highway Patrol, and the City of Santa Barbara and its Police Department.

According to the complaint, an address mix-up on Jan. 30 cost 24-year-old Jordan Soto her life and robbed her 17-month-old son, Dominic Dash, of a life with his mother.

The suit alleges the defendants failed to establish, operate and maintain an adequate 9-1-1 emergency call dispatch system, which currently routes cell phone calls to the California Highway Patrol, rerouting to local emergency response personnel.

Newport Beach attorney Mark Peacock filed the lawsuit on behalf of Soto’s estate, demanding a jury trial and damages exceeding $25,000.

On the night in question, Soto, who worked at the Daily Grind, was found collapsed and unconscious on the floor of her Santa Barbara family home, where she lived with Dash and parents, Cindy Jacobs-Soto and Ruben Soto.

A family member used a cell phone to dial 9-1-1, and the call was routed to Ventura instead of Santa Barbara, according to the complaint.

A dispatcher confirmed the correct address on Tinker Way — less than a mile from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital — but a Santa Barbara dispatcher subsequently provided the wrong address to first responders, one five miles from the Soto home on Cedar Lane, the suit says.

When an ambulance arrived 20 minutes after the first call, Soto still had a pulse but died later that night at the hospital, the complaint said.

The Soto family doesn’t want to place blame on the local individuals involved, but they do want Sacramento to take a better look at its system, said Peacock, who would not disclose why Soto collapsed or if it was related to a pre-existing medical condition.

“I think what they would really like to have happen is that, obviously, this doesn’t happen to anybody else ever again,” he told Noozhawk. “Even though it’s been a few months now, they’re still devastated. They don’t understand why the government failed like that. Neither do I. There’s no amount of money that would replace Jordan.”

Peacock said a doctor at Cottage Hospital told him the time difference would’ve saved Soto’s life, and he hopes discovery will shed light on how this happened.

The City of Santa Barbara had not received a copy of the suit as of this week, according to Assistant City Attorney Tom Shapiro.

“While I can’t comment on the allegations in the suit yet, I should note that generally California law provides immunities from suit for negligence claims for 9-1-1 operations and operators,” Shapiro said. “It appears that the Soto family will be alleging gross negligence, which might not be immunized.”

Locals might remember Soto from signs put up on the counters of the two Santa Barbara Daily Grind locations earlier this year, hoping to raise money for Dash via a Jordan Soto Memorial Fund. The online campaign fell just short of its $15,000 goal, raising more than $11,500.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >