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KAREN WRIGHT vs. COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
Jury Trial, June 12, 2006
David T. McCann

David McCann obtained a defense verdict on behalf of the County of Los Angeles following this jury trial. The plaintiff claimed she tripped and fell in a hole in a sidewalk that she claimed measured roughly 12" x 18". Plaintiff alleged that the hole was created when county employees negligently failed to replace a cover over a traffic signal control vault in the sidewalk. At trial, plaintiff argued that the condition existed for such a length of time that had the county exercised reasonable care, the county should have discovered the condition in time to have remedied it.

As a result of the incident, plaintiff claimed she sustained traumatic chondromalacia to both knees, resulting in arthroscopic surgeries first to the left knee and then to the right. Additionally, plaintiff alleged that she developed carpal tunnel syndrome to her right wrist as a result her use of a cane following her first surgery. Plaintiff presented evidence of $94,000 in past medical expenses and she argued that she requires future surgeries to both knees at a cost of $80,000. Plaintiff requested a verdict of $940,000.

In defense, Mr. McCann presented testimony from representatives of the county who indicated that the county had a regular maintenance policy and procedure that was followed in this case. Arguments were also made that the plaintiff was simply inattentive and fell as a result of her own negligence. The county also disputed that nature and extent of plaintiff's claimed injuries, and plaintiff was impeached with respect to her prior history of injuries. The county made a 998 offer to compromise prior to trial of $10,000, which was rejected by the plaintiff.

After deliberating for an hour and a half, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the county, finding that the plaintiff failed to establish that the county had proper notice of the condition.

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