Wrongful Death-Dangerous Condition of Public Property
MARINA ROBLEDO, individually and as successor-in-interest of EDGAR PEREZ LOPEZ.
CITY OF SANTA ROSA
CASE NUMBER: County of Sonoma No. SCV-247170
Jeremy R. Fietz, Adams Fietz, Santa Rosa, CA;
Michael A. Fiumara, Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara, Santa Rosa, CA
Robert Jackson and John Fritsch, Legal Department, City of Santa Rosa
Facts & Allegations
In 2009, Edgar Perez-Lopez, a graduate of Elsie Allen High School and his cousin were walking to a nearby bookstore to buy books for school at 8:36 p.m. when they began crossing Santa Rosa Avenue at Court Street in a marked crosswalk. Mr. Richard Gonsalves, 66 years old, of Santa Rosa driving his F-150 pickup truck hit Edgar in the crosswalk, killing him. Mr. Gonsalves and his passenger told police that because it was so dark in the roadway, they did not see Edgar until it was too late.
The family alleged in the law suit that the streetlight at the east end of the crosswalk was out for more than a year at the time of the accident, and several other streetlights in the immediate area have been turned off by the city of Santa Rosa to save money.
Plaintiff alleged that, contrary to its express policies, the City of Santa Rosa negligently failed to maintain the streetlight over the cross-walk and that the lack of light was a cause of Edgar’s death. Plaintiff alleged that because of the dangerous condition of the roadway, the driver did not have reasonable notice that Edgar was crossing the road. The City admitted the light over the crosswalk was not functioning but asserted that the law code does not permit a government entity to become liable due to the lack of lighting. The city brought a cross-complaint against PG&E due to a failed PG&E transformer that contributed to the lighting malfunction.
Marina Robledo sought General damages for the loss of love, support, guidance and comfort cause by the death of her son.
Since Edgar Perez-Lopez was not covered by health insurance the emergency bills room bills alone were nearly $40,000.
After the City of Santa Rosa was unable to dismiss the plaintiff’s case, the City turned around and sued PG&E which owned and maintained the malfunctioning transformer at the intersection.
In the end, PG&E settled the law suit with the City, paying for the City’s legal costs and the settlement amount of $335,000 to the Perez-Lopez family.