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POSTED December 13, 2012 9:22 p.m.

PACHECO COMPANY HIT WITH $11.9M JURY VERDICT: PACHECO  (AP) — A jury has ordered a Contra Costa County landscape architecture company and its owners to pay nearly $12 million to a man who was struck and injured by its truck.

The Contra Costa Times reported on Wednesday that the jury reached the verdict in favor of plaintiff Sean Choy and against Mori Hatsushi & Associates of Pacheco this week. Choy's attorney, Steve Kirby, says the 35-year-old Choy suffered brain damage and a paralyzed arm after he was struck by the truck driven by Masaru Hatsushi in 2007.

According to Kirby, Hatsushi was an employee of the company who had been removed from its insurance policy because of his poor driving record. The defense said Hatsushi had retired from the company when he struck Choy.

Hatsushi died before the trial started.

A woman who answered the phone on Thursday at a listing for the landscaping firm said no one could comment.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY OFFICIAL'S DONATIONS QUESTIONED: SAN JOSE  (AP) — A Santa Clara County official is facing additional allegations that he misused public funds.

An audit released on Wednesday accuses Board of Supervisors President George Shirakawa of charging nearly $9,000 in donations to his county credit cards in violation of the county's credit card policy.

A previous audit has raised concerns about thousands of dollars in additional spending Shirakawa charged to the county.

A call to his office on Thursday was not immediately returned.

The San Jose Mercury News reports (http://bit.ly/QXg8zQ) that Shirakawa has agreed to reimburse some of the disputed funds, but is challenging others.

He has said he is the victim of a personal attack.

FREMONT CREWS BATTLE 3-ALARM INDUSTRIAL FIRE: FREMONT (AP) — Crews responded to the scene of a three-alarm blaze at a machine shop in an industrial neighborhood in Fremont.

Dozens of firefighters are battling the fire that erupted Thursday afternoon shortly before 2 p.m. at C and H Enterprises, a metal and fabricating company.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

Authorities say the building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at the scene, prompting them to stay outside and take a defensive posture.

Fremont Fire Capt. Steve Silva tells KGO-TV the shop contained heavy oils, and firefighters encountered dark, sooty smoke. He advised surrounding businesses to shelter in place.

He said employees inside the building got out on their own.

 

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