Case details

Location of accident was not dangerous, defense claimed





Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, cognition, head, impairment, mental, psychological, traumatic brain injury
On July 3, 2009, at approximately 6:12 p.m., plaintiff Julia Anna Bertoli, 15, was walking in a crosswalk on State Route 116, also known as Healdsburg Avenue, at the intersection with Florence Avenue in Sebastopol, when she was struck by a vehicle. She sustained head . Julia Anna Bertoli, by and through her guardian ad litem, Valerie and Joseph Bertoli, sued the city of Sebastopol, the state of California, and numerous other parties. Several of the defendants were either dismissed or settled out of the case. Thus, the matter continued against the city of Sebastopol and the state of California only. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that the intersection and crosswalk constituted a dangerous condition of public property, per Government Code § 835. Counsel primarily argued that tree shadows impaired the visibility of drivers, obscuring their view of pedestrians in the crosswalk. Counsel argued that as a result, additional safeguards — such as pedestrian warnings signs, in-pavement lights, and flashing signs — were necessary at the intersection to warn drivers. Plaintiff’s counsel further argued that the city and state had actual and constructive notice of the dangerous condition based on accident history and prior complaints. After plaintiff’s counsel completed presenting Julia Anna’s case for over 35 trial days, the city’s counsel moved for non-suit, arguing that the city did not own or control the state highway where the accident occurred. Judge Gary Nadler granted the city’s counsel’s motion for non-suit on April 13, 2015, and the city was dismissed from the case. The state’s counsel argued that the intersection was not dangerous when used with due care. Counsel also argued that the visibility at the subject intersection was safe and that tree shadows are natural conditions. The state’s counsel contended that accident history showed that there was an average accident rate and that there were no prior documented daytime pedestrian accidents. In addition, counsel argued that Julia Anna was comparatively at fault for the accident, in that Julia Anna was inattentive to where she was walking and was using a cell phone., Julia Anna suffered a traumatic brain injury and orthopedic to her back and lower extremities. She was subsequently taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, in Santa Rosa, where she remained hospitalized for several months. Julia Anna, now 20 years old, claimed that her brain injury resulted in significant cognitive deficits. Thus, she sought recovery of $630,000 in past medical costs and $10 million to $20 million in future attendant and medical care. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Sonoma County, Sonoma, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case