Grandmother Sues City, Wins
City refused to pay elderly woman $85,000 for medical expenses after fall on sidewalk, now must pay more than half a million dollars.
BY TIM WILLERT
BURBANK - An 80-year-old Burbank grandmother got her day in court and socked it to the city.
Gladys Dantagnon was walking near her home in the 800 block of Clybourn Avenue on Dec. 8, 1998, when she stepped into a depression in the sidewalk, lost her balance and fell to the ground.
Dantagnon, 78 at the time, fractured her right shoulder, right middle finger and a rib. She filed a claim against the city seeking $85,000 in damages - $5,753 of it to go toward medical expenses - alleging that the sidewalk was in a state of disrepair and that the city had been notified about it by residents on several occasions.
"I thought her case was worth a lot more than $85,000, but because of her age she and her family did not want her to go to trial," said Mark D. Apelian, Dantagnon's attorney Thursday. "So the family came up with an $85,000 demand of the City which Apelian presented to the City, thinking that the case would surely go away."
Unfortunately for the City, it didn't. The City of Burbank instead countered with a final settlement offer of $15,000, an amount Apelian called ludicrous.
The attorney representing the City of Burbank claimed the damage to the sidewalk (which was described as a 1.5 inch deep depression, 1 foot wide and 1 foot long) - was caused by a prior homeowner. He further argued Dantagnon was aware of the condition prior to the day of her fall.
The case went to trial for five days, wherein a 12-member jury who had listened to the evidence and testimony of several witnesses, including expert witnesses, delivered of Dantagnon and several witnesses, including expert witnesses, returned a verdict after deliberating for just under four hours - and returned a verdict in favor of Dantagnon in the amount of $508,762.
Mr. Apelian credits his spectacular jury award to the delightful and loving charm of his senior citizen client, and to the members of the jury, who had the integrity to do the right thing!
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