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A Walnut Creek firm settled a multimillion-dollar wrongful death suit over a highly publicized home invasion robbery that led to two deaths. On Jan. 4, 2000, Mesa Kasem and Soknoeun Nem forced their way into the home of Alamo resident and retired plastic surgeon Kim Fang as Fang, his wife, children, brother and nanny were home preparing for dinner. Fang, who was an experienced marksman, was able to grab his gun and traded fire with Kasem, and both died. Nem was sentenced to life without parole. Police later learned that Kasem, an ex-con, was a deliveryman for Santa Clara-based Somerset Auctions and had been to the Fang home earlier to pick up an item. Somerset had hired Kasem a few weeks after he had served more than three years in prison for another shooting. The company failed to do a background check, said Peter Alfert of Walnut Creek plaintiffs firm Hinton & Alfert. Hinton & Alfert attorneys would not disclose the amount of the settlement but said it was “multimillion.” Richard Williams of Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley represented Somerset. Williams could not be reached for comment on Friday afternoon. Alfert and partner Peter Hinton filed a wrongful death suit, Fang v. Somerset Auctions Inc., CV793389, on behalf of the Fang family. It claimed the auction company failed to use reasonable care to probe Kasem’s past. The case was assigned to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Jamie Jacobs-May and the trial was scheduled to begin today. A $50 background check would have told Somerset about Kasem’s criminal history, Hinton said. “The negligence here was atrocious,” Hinton said.

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