Victim of brutal attack on Metromover seeks damages from security contractor Allied Universal

Eduardo Fernandez, 74, was on his way to work Sept. 20 when he was attacked after he boarded the Metromover at Government Center. (Handout photo)

MIAMI – Despite three prior attacks on the Metromover in Miami, a victim claims the security contractor for the public transportation system did nothing to prevent similar attacks from happening again.

Eduardo Fernandez said no one intervened when Robert Lee Ribbs nearly killed him on the Metromover in downtown Miami. Ribbs, who confessed to the crime, stole $30 in cash from Fernandez’s pocket.

Fernandez and his wife, Maria Vechio, blame Allied Universal, a security contractor for Miami-Dade Transit, for not doing enough to protect him from Ribbs.

“Seconds prior to the brutal attack, a security guard employed by the defendant, Allied Universal, encountered plaintiff, Eduardo Fernandez, and his attacker on the train, and failed to take any action,” Attorney Alan Goldfarb wrote in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Miami-Dade circuit court.

Fernandez and Vechio are demanding judgment against Allied Universal for compensatory damages in excess of $30,000. Allied Universal’s public relations manager wrote on Wednesday afternoon that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

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Allied Universal was also in charge of security when Joshua King attacked three Metromover passengers on Sept. 4. Surveillance video shows him mercilessly punching and kicking Andrea Puerta, who had never met King before, police said. Goldfarb claims this should have been enough for Allied Universal to implement effective preventive measures.

Ribbs kicked and punched Fernandez until he was unconscious, police said. According to Goldfarb, Fernandez injuries included skull fractures and brain hemorrhage. Miami Fire Rescue personnel took him to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where he underwent emergency surgery.

Two days after Fernandez was attacked, Barbara Moreno, Allied Universal’s vice president of marketing, announced the launching of a new, “There for you” marketing campaign.

“This campaign illustrates our important role with our clients and communities as our #1 goal is to serve and safeguard so they can have the freedom to love, create, produce and innovate without worrying about their security,” said in a Sept. 22 statement. “We wanted to show that we, as a company, are There for you -- always aware and ready to act as there is nothing more powerful than feeling safe.”

Robert Lee Ribbs confessed to beating Eduardo Fernandez until he was unconscious on Sept. 20 and then stealing his cash.

Fernandez and Vechio claim Allied Universal failed to deliver on the promise when he didn’t make it to work as a valet attendant at the Grand Condominium after his morning Metromover ride from the Government Center station to the Adrienne Arsht Center station. Goldfarb claims Fernandez’s suffering also includes disability and disfigurement.

“The family wants to use this lawsuit as a vehicle to promote safety,” Goldfarb told Local 10 News on Sept. 23. “They had an opportunity to intervene and increase security and improve what they were doing, because of the three assaults that had occurred.”

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