L.A. Ordered To Pay $23.7 Million To Family Of Man Killed At Blind Intersection
A jury ordered the City of Los Angeles on Monday to pay $23.7 million to the family of a Northrup Grumman scientist who was killed on a city street three years ago. Attorneys representing the family successfully argued that unsafe intersection design was the chief factor contributing to 59-year-old Thomas Guilmette's death, according to the Daily Breeze.
Guilmette was killed back in February of 2013. While riding a motorcycle on Summerland Avenue in San Pedro, Guilmette struck a car that was edging its way out into the road's intersection at Cabrillo Avenue to make a left turn. The intersection was uncontrolled, comes immediately after a hill that blocks the view for both turning motorists and oncoming traffic, and had a view further impeded by parked cars.
Attorneys underscored that the city had previously planned to remedy the intersection with a stop sign and restricted parking to improve visibility in both 2001 and 2009, but ultimately failed to carry out the recommendations of its own planners, according to the L.A. Times.
A stop sign and a restricted parking area were added after Guilmette's death, but attorneys argued the city was exceptionally liable because the intersection had been a known danger for more than a decade before Guilmette died.
"It wasn't until after the accident that they followed their own plan," said Don Liddy, who represents Guilmette's family. "Those changes would have allowed motorists to see each other at a dangerous intersection."
A spokesperson for the L.A. City Attorney's office said the judgment is "outrageous," and that the city will appeal the decision.
The thing is, L.A. is making a push to improve road safety across the board. Earlier this year, Los Angeles pledged to "Vision Zero," an initiative to eliminate road deaths completely by 2025. Adding stop signs, improving visibility are crucial parts to this that the city understands well, so well that they even marked the intersection where Guilmette was killed for improvements more than a decade before his death.