In May 2020, an unlicensed Grubhub driver physically assaulted a Chicago restaurant worker. The driver, who was using another driver’s Grubhub account, hit the worker with his car. The driver was criminally charged for the incident.
Now, the local restaurant worker is suing Grubhub for negligence in her assault.
Delivery Driver Hits Restaurant Worker With Car
On May 15, 2020, Aamir Mohammed, 30, arrived at Ms. T’s Southern Fried Chicken — a restaurant in the Chicago neighborhood of Lakeview. Mohammed arrived under the guise of another Grubhub driver to pick up food for a Grubhub delivery.
The delivery he was picking up was not ready upon his arrival. Employees asked Mohammed to wait for the order outside, following COVID-19 precautions. According to prosecutors, as he left the building, Mohammed “aggressively kicked the front glass door from within the restaurant and slammed the door.”
Restaurant employees called the police and told Mohammed not to leave. Several employees followed Mohammed outside and stood around his car. According to one witness, Mohammed threatened to run people over if they did not move out of his way.
Mohammed then allegedly hit one worker with his Toyota Prius. He drove with the victim’s body on the hood of his car for 20 to 30 feet before slowing down. As he slowed, her body fell off the car. Then, allegedly, Mohammed drove over the victim’s body as she lay on the ground. He then fled the scene.
A witness filmed most of the incident. Mohammed later turned himself in to the Chicago Police Department.
Victim Is The Daughter Of Restaurant Owner
The victim is Bijan Choya Early, 24. Early’s mother owns Ms. T’s Southern Fried Chicken. According to a lawsuit filed by Early, she suffered two broken arms, fractures in both legs and a broken pelvis due to the attack.
Following the attack, Early underwent surgery for her injuries at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
The Lakeview East Community Partnership set up a GoFundMe campaign for Early. The campaign raised more than $20,000.
“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.”
Assailant Faces Felony Charges
It was later discovered Mohammed was not a valid Grubhub driver and lacked a driver’s license.
For the assault, Mohammed faces the following charges:
- Two felony counts of aggravated battery
- One felony count of failing to report an accident resulting in an injury
- Misdemeanor counts of leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license
Mohammed was held on a $5,000 bond. Cook County Judge Mary Catherine Marubio commented on her bond decision saying, “He must know that this person’s injured after being struck by the car two separate times. There’s flight despite the injury, that indicates to me a concern that he won’t follow conditions of release and appear as required.”
Assault Survivor Sues Grubhub For Negligence
Separate from the criminal charges against Mohammed, Early has filed a civil lawsuit against Grubhub. The lawsuit claims the company is negligent in her assault by allowing an unauthorized individual without a driver’s license to use the app.
Mohammed used another person’s account to make deliveries for Grubhub. Grubhub banned the driver whose account Mohammed was using at the time of the attack.
Early is suing Grubhub for a minimum of $50,000 in damages. She is also asking for a trial by jury. According to her attorneys, Early suffered nerve damage from the incident which prevents her from using both hands. This will likely prevent Early from using sign language and pursuing her career aspirations as a teacher for the hearing impaired.
A successful verdict for Early could result in a monetary award to cover medical costs and trauma-related expenses. Additionally, it could inspire Grubhub to better protect customers, drivers and third-party individuals such as restaurant workers.
Survivors have been able to effect changes at the corporate level. For example, Uber updated its safety practices after facing criticism and lawsuits from people who were assaulted while using the rideshare service. However, many critics say these updates still fall short of protecting users. As such, Uber and Lyft still face similar lawsuits regarding assault allegations against drivers and riders.
Masterson, M. (2020, May 19). Grubhub Driver Faces Multiple Felonies After Restaurant Worker Struck, Dragged by Car. WTTW.
Witch, J., Bauer, K., Laurence, J. (2020, June 9). Woman Sues GrubHub After Being Run Down By Fake Delivery Driver In Lakeview Hit-And-Run. Block Club Chicago.