ClickCease Government Liability | Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger

Government Liability

In Victim v. State of California (Santa Clara Sup. Ct.), Sara Peters and Justin Chou negotiated a settlement in the amount of $899,000 on behalf of a displaced person who was struck by a Caltrans tractor/loader during the cleanout of a homeless encampment adjacent to Highway 280 near San Jose. During an encampment cleanout in 2015, California CHP and Caltrans personnel failed to do a thorough job of ensuring that all the site’s residents had been removed before they drove a heavy tractor/loader through the area to remove the makeshift shelters and debris. In the process of the operation, the bucket of the tractor/loader picked up the client who was asleep under a canvas sheet. The bucket of the loader shattered both of her hips, her sacrum, and also caused facial injuries. Initially, the State claimed that the plaintiff had not been sleeping-but instead had run back to the encampment while the cleanout was ongoing. Sara and Justin proved through non-party witnesses that this claim was false. The case was resolved at mediation following the completion of discovery.