78-Year-Old Entrepreneur Receives $11M Settlement After Devastating San Francisco Cable Car Accident

By Madz Dizon

May 23, 2024 07:33 PM EDT

78-Year-Old Entrepreneur Receives $11M Settlement After Devastating San Francisco Cable Car Accident
A streetcar goes past the Twitter headquarters on April 26, 2022 in downtown San Francisco, California.
(Photo : AMY OSBORNE/AFP via Getty Images)

An elderly businesswoman, 78, who inherited a fortune from her late husband's invention of light beer, receives a significant settlement after being involved in a collision with a San Francisco cable car at a complex intersection. 

Light Beer Inventor's Widow Receives $11 Million Settlement

An incident occurred on December 28, 2022, involving Ruth Owades, 78, who was struck by a historic cable car. As a result, she has taken legal action against San Francisco's transit agency.  

However, the collision resulted in severe injuries, including a traumatic brain injury and spinal fractures. The San Francisco Standard was the first to report on her payout.

Ruth, the widow of Joseph L. Owades, the inventor of light beer, was a successful businesswoman in her own right.

However, following the incident, she now requires round-the-clock care and experiences significant cognitive challenges, according to her lawsuit.

In her court filing, Owades claims that she was struck unexpectedly at 5:23pm while walking past a marked crosswalk that she found to be confusing, misleading, and dangerous for pedestrians.

According to the lawsuit, there is significant confusion among pedestrians, drivers, and cable car operators regarding the intersection, crosswalk, signs, markings, and traffic controls at the collision site.

KRON4 said, Owades, who resides in a luxurious $2.8 million residence, was discovered on the street and swiftly transported to the hospital with injuries that were deemed life-threatening.

The lawsuit highlights the extent of her injuries, which have left her in need of help for all aspects of daily life, such as getting dressed, walking, personal hygiene, shopping, and meal preparation.

Additionally, she experiences persistent 'cognitive deficits' and faces challenges with balance, putting her at risk of falling. As a result, she has had to visit the emergency room at least once since the cable car incident.

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Who is Ruth Owades?

According to the San Francisco Standard, the board of directors of the San Francisco Transit Agency voted in favor of a $11 million settlement for Owades after a closed session this week.

Additionally, a $5.5 million payout was approved for a separate incident involving Mei Yu Lin. The specific details surrounding the incident remain unclear, as a filing has indicated that it pertained to allegations of personal injury resulting from operator negligence.

Ruth Owades was featured in a HuffPost article celebrating remarkable women, highlighting her success as a serial entrepreneur who revolutionized the flower industry.

The achievement was accomplished during her tenure as CEO and Chairman of Calyx & Carolla, the pioneering online catalogue for fresh flowers. According to the post, the company revolutionized the floral distribution chain.

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