A Superior Court judge has ruled that the city of Fresno will remain a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the family of 7-year-old Donovan Maldonado, who was killed by a drunken driver while in a crosswalk near Woodward Park.
There can be no more tragic event than the death of a child. The incident which gives rise to this lawsuit alleges that the California city should be held liable for a dangerous condition of public property. Oftentimes, these cases are dismissed on motions like demurrers or a Motion for Summary Judgment due to the statutory immunities which sheild public entities from suit. The City of Fresno argued that the “recreational immunity” statute provided for absolution to suit. However, the judge ruled that the roadway crossing in question was not a part of a state recreational area per se and, therefore, this immunity did not apply. This will allow the boy’s family to proceed with the wrongful death claim in a jury trial. The City could appeal this ruling or file subseqent motions at the time of trial to get a directed verdict on the issue.
While many people think that lawsuits like this one will “cost the taxpayers”, it is my opinion as a personal injury advocate for pedestrians injured or killed in California that these suits spur improvements in public infrastructure and make municipalities take a strong look at improving the layouts of intersections and crosswalks so that these types of incident are less likely to occur in the future!
For more information on personal injury law in California go to:
See on www.fresnobee.com