A Walkup Law Firm trial team including partner Matthew Davis, associate Jeff Clause and headed by senior partner Michael Kelly obtained a $4 million verdict in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 against the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District arising from the wrongful death of Lori Helmer, a 51 year old finance executive who was struck and killed by a Golden Gate Transit bus on November 6, 2014 at the intersection of Van Ness and Lombard streets while she was out for a morning jog. When she was fatally struck, Ms. Helmer was crossing Van Ness from west to east when a left turning Route 54 bus ran over her, crushing her abdomen and pelvis with the rear dual wheels, resulting in her death two hours later at San Francisco General Hospital.
The Bridge District claimed that Ms. Helmer caused her death by running into the side of the bus when she knew, or should have known, that it was turning . The Walkup team demonstrated through expert testimony and internal bridge district witnesses and documents, that the driver was exceeding the recommended speed limit, and had an unobstructed view of the crosswalk that should have permitted him to see and avoid the pedestrian.
The verdict was returned after seven days of trial. Miss Helmer was survived by her son John Grotenhuis, a 21-year-old college student at the time of her death. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the mother and son had an extraordinarily close relationship. The case is John Grotenhuis vs. GGBHTD, Case No. CGC-15-545562.
The jury verdict is the latest in a series of cases successfully resolved by the firm on behalf of pedestrians or their survivors. The Walkup firm is a supporter of WalkSF and its Vision Zero campaign whose aim is to improve safety on city streets and neighborhoods, in order to make San Francisco a more livable, walkable city by reclaiming it’s streets, and creating shared public space safe for everyone to enjoy.