A Manhattan Beach man can seek punitive damages against two other men, one of whom allegedly ran over the plaintiff twice in a supermarket parking lot in 2020 following a dispute over mask-wearing, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Torrance Superior Court Judge Gary Tanaka denied a motion by lawyers for Alan Boeke and Ronald Stevenson to dismiss plaintiff William Todd Robinson’s bid for punitive damages against the pair. Boeke and Stevenson are identified in the suit as spouses and Boeke is the defendant who allegedly hit Robinson with his car.

The judge noted that Boeke denied Robinson’s allegation that he intended to strike the plaintiff with his vehicle and the defendant also argued that Robinson’s allegations of intentional conduct were vague.

“However, there is nothing vague about these allegations,” Tanaka wrote. “(Robinson) has alleged sufficient facts to state his causes of action for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress based on (Boeke’s) conduct in intentionally attempting to run over (Robinson) … with his vehicle after the parties had an argument at the supermarket, and then fleeing the scene.”

Robinson, 69, and Boeke, 75, were separately shopping at the Vons store on Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Manhattan Beach on Oct. 2, 2020, before the incident, according to the suit.

“Robinson was not wearing a surgical or protective mask while he was shopping and was, in fact, shopping for masks among other items because he had exhausted his supply,” the suit states.

Upon seeing Robinson without a mask, Boeke “engaged in verbal harassment and assault” of the plaintiff, the suit states. Although Robinson tried to ignore Boeke, the defendant became increasingly loud and belligerent, according to the suit.

“Eventually, plaintiff responded in kind, which led to an exchange of insults between the parties,” the suit states.

Calm appeared to have been restored when a Vons employee gave Robinson a mask and the two men went to different cashier lines. However, as Robinson left the store and reached the parking lot, he saw Boeke driving directly at him, the suit states. Robinson tried to avoid being hit, but Boeke turned his vehicle toward him, striking the plaintiff with the front of the defendant’s car, according to the suit.

Robinson fell and was run over by the driver-side front and rear wheels of Boeke’s car, then Boeke backed up the vehicle and again ran over the plaintiff’s legs while he was still on the ground, the suit alleges.

Boeke then sped out of the parking lot and onto Manhattan Beach Boulevard, the suit states. A Vons worker standing near the front doors the store took a photo of Boeke’s vehicle, which matched the description of the vehicle that Robinson later gave to Manhattan Beach police, the suit states.

Robinson believes that shortly after the incident, Boeke and Stevenson transferred their interest in their Manhattan Beach residence to limit the assets from which the plaintiff could get compensation for his injuries, the suit states.

In his ruling denying Stevenson’s motion to strike the punitive damages allegations, the judge noted that Stevenson, 73, did not seek dismissal of Robinson’s cause of action for fraudulent transfer and that Robinson had provided enough facts for now to support his bid for such damages.

Robinson has incurred expenses for medicines, X-rays and other medical supplies and services, according to the complaint.

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