Los Angeles Visitor Awarded $11.87 Million

Los Angeles Visitor Awarded $11.87 Million

A Los Angeles County Superior Court has awarded a young British woman $11.87 million for the serious brain injuries she endured when she was struck by a car in a crosswalk in Hollywood in 2002.

The 19-year-old visiting British student, Alice Mowatt allegedly suffered brain injuries including impaired cognitive abilities, loss of taste and smell, and minor memory loss, according to her San Francisco based attorney, Ronald Rouda.

The jury found the city of Los Angeles responsible for the tragic accident, contending that they were aware of the dangerous conditions of the Cahuenga street crosswalk and neglected to fix the problem that led to the plaintiff’s injuries.

Initially, the Los Angeles County Superior Court awarded Mowatt over $18 million for the damage, however, previous settlements involving the state and the vehicle’s driver lowered the award to $11.87 million.

“We certainly tried to enter into an agreement to settle the case [with the city] but there was no offer,” Rouda commented on the ruling.

The chief assistant city attorney for civil liability in Los Angeles, Gary Geuss stated, “There was no evidence in the trial of a dangerous condition existing there. We felt the jury felt extremely sorry for an extremely sympathetic plaintiff.”

Guess added that the city had attempted to settle with the plaintiff unsuccessfully and planned to appeal the current ruling on the basis that the crosswalk was state, and not city, authority.

The Mowatt verdict, costing the city of Los Angeles millions, follows last months $15 million award to three police officers that sued the city for false arrest in the Rampart case. Nonetheless, representatives for the city of Los Angeles claim that legal settlement costs have drastically dropped for the city over the past several years, from $50.4 million in 2003, to only $28.2 million in 2005, with the exception of the police settlement.

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