Plaintiffs Awarded $600,000 After City of Eureka Found Partially Responsible for Crash

Press release from Bragg, Mainzer & Firpo, LLP:

Judges Gavel

On June 29, 2018, a Humboldt County jury found the City of Eureka responsible for a 2014 crash on Campton Road.

On  October 15, 2014, two elderly women were traveling northbound on Campton Road, when a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, and operated by a teenager on her way to school, lost control and collided with them, causing major injuries.

The jury was provided evidence that showed that since at least the mid-1970s the City of Eureka knew that the portion of Campton Road where this crash occurred was improperly built and that the condition of the road was contributing to vehicles losing control.  The jury was also provided evidence that since the late 1980s, the City had allowed the surface of Campton Road to wear smooth, further increasing the likelihood of crashes.

Witnesses presented by the Plaintiffs showed that while the crash rate on the section Campton Road where the crash occurred was 352% higher than the expected rate, the City of Eureka took no meaningful steps since the late 1980’s to fix the roadway.

The jury found that the teenage driver was 30% responsible for the crash and that the City of Eureka was 70% responsible for the crash.  The two plaintiffs were awarded $600,000.00 in damages.  Prior to trial, the City of Eureka offered Plaintiffs nothing.

Plaintiffs were represented by Ben Mainzer of Bragg, Mainzer & Firpo, LLP.  The City of Eureka was represented by Nancy Delaney.

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34 comments

  • i bet they still wont bother to repair that section of road,
    why should they? its only money

  • Government is a very tempting target. Decisions like this are going to happen. Lost suits result in insurance increases, which eat into a budget. If they are fiscally responsible, they can meet such costs. The public should remember this whenever they want or allow governments to pay for well meaning but essentially ineffective things. Supporting causes with money, mostly because they sound like being “concerned”, means that money is not available to pay for things for which the government is legally responsible.

    • So let them off the hook, right? You sound very gullible. “Government is by the people and for the people and how dare you take the people’s money for yourself, even though the people were negligent.” Government hasn’t been “by the people” since the founders died. With the creation of the federal bank and the IRS we lost all sovereignty.

      • Nonsense. I didn’t say any of that. All I said was that the government, being an easy target to get to pay up, will be involved in law suits. So that government should not fritter money away on unproductive things, leaving it constantly needing more money when expenses arise involving necessary things. Nothing more.

      • Guest’s original comment was very thoughtful. He’s pointing out that a bit of restraint on ineffective, feel-good spending would help ensure that government has money for real needs. This is especially important when the government has an obligation like this that might result in serious harm (and financial liability).

        A great way to avoid liability is to fix problems before they cause harm. Wasting resources on anything (an unneeded overbuilt bridge, stupid laws that take enforcement time, or pet projects that aren’t necessary or required government functions) leaves less resources to fix dangerous roads.

  • It’s about time! These roads in Humboldt are horrendous, with virtually no safe bike lanes anywhere. The cops are even worse enforcing people for tail lights etc that come loose when we travel on their roads. The hypocrisy and abuse by cops is criminal. It has cost our community immensely in vehicle repairs (if your lucky enough to even find a mechanic that isn’t a 4 week wait), lost wages, traffic citations, registration fees that never end up serving the majority via safe roads. What’s worse is that too many people have been injured and die due to county/City negligence. I am so glad people put in the necessary work to hold the city of Eureka accountable. Great work lawyers and victims! Humboldt County needs to pay next. All day long cal trans wastes our tax dollars Etc making roads that are dangerous and only serve vehicles and corporate interests. Hello, climate change! Widen the roads so the people can make better choices to help minimize their emissions in a safe manner. I only drive a car because it is not safe to bike anywhere. This car culture needs to be remedied and it’s as easy as anylizing our values and adjusting our priorities. Wake up government and Caltrans! Hopefully this will help them see clearly.

    • Fun fact: If you eat a typical American diet, you produce MORE carbon riding a bicycle than driving a car. A lot more.

      Consider, for example, lamb. Each pound of lamb you eat caused approximately 40lbs of CO2 emissions and their equivalents. That pound of lamb will get you about 1000 calories, or enough to cycle about 20 miles, assuming you’re reasonably fit and not hauling shopping or such on your bike. Driving a Prius 20 miles only emits 5.5lbs of CO2.

      Now, obviously, some foods are better – but don’t plan on eating any meat (including fish), eggs, or cheese. If your diet consists of much more than rice and beans, or vegetables grown in your own backyard, you’re causing a lot of CO2 emissions.

      So, sure, if you want some exercise and to be a non-contributing member of society for long periods of time, go ride a bike… But don’t delude yourself that you’re stopping climate change, or in any other way acting in a superior manner.

      I haven’t noticed much of a problem with roads around here. Some are pretty damn bad (like 2nd near Target), but overall our roads are pretty nice. If you’re finding the roads to cause damage to your vehicle, you need to drive a better vehicle, or drive better.

      And, I sure hope caltrans continues to only serve vehicles… that’s what highways are for. If you’re on a highway in anything but a vehicle, you’re breaking the law. Don’t.

      • try a country drive

        Nope. Leave Eureka, and check out the County responsibility roads. Campton heights road is way better than any County road. If Eureka had roads like some of the county roads, they’d be paying out every week. The County is cruising for a bruising as well. there are a lot of spots that people have been warning the County about, when somebody gets injured at a spot they’ve been warned about they should get sued. It is cheaper to maintain the roads. 80 % of the surface is ok, just every 100 ft, you get pummeled. If the County Court House facade was in the same bad shape, they’d pony up Millions. The County thinks that no body lives out in the sticks, and so many of the dips pounding our roads commute from Eureka to their grows every day. If they vote, they’re registered in town, that plus the County closing polling stations makes it appear like fewer folks live in some of these areas.

        • I drive all over… and our roads here aren’t that bad. I remember when the road out to hyampom had potholes you could fit your spare tire into, but that stretch has long since been repaved. And our gravel roads are usually maintained surprisingly well.

          The county or cities should very rarely be sued due to automobile accidents. As a driver, it is your responsibility, and yours alone, to operate your vehicle safely. Part of operating your vehicle safely is paying attention to road conditions, and operating your vehicle appropriately even if they’re sub-optimal. If a road is smooth and has less available traction, you may need to drive slower. And, there is _no_ excuse for operating your vehicle anywhere near the traction limits on Campton, anywhere. Nice gentle curves and good condition pavement. To lose control of your vehicle due to limited traction would take serious effort.

  • Emerald triangle population up shi€ creek

    Sue the county, sue the city of eureka, sue the planning department. Carma. Sue corrupt politicians that are corporate sellouts and treasonous to there constituents!!!!!

  • Wow wait till they look at EVERY road in humboldt!

  • But I can’t sue the logging trucks that leave shit laying around myrtle,6th,broadway after coming off logging roads then kicking gravel off of 18 tires onto windshields in traffic or even parked,they are the ones that rip up the potholes at every light on 6th,they should have paid for that repaving

    • Dude no street in Eureka is near as bad as any county road outside of town. get a grip. Actually the biggest problem on most of our roads is pick up trucks towing empty trailers everywhere, as fast as possible. (from their bung-hole-galows in Eureka). the trailer suspensions pound out the potholes. I haven’t seen but one logging truck this whole year out west of 101, and they drive about half the speed of most Toyotas. I only really see log trucks on (State) hwy. 36.

      • I’m on those roads daily. There are logging trucks on them daily. If you sit next to one at a light you will see it chew up the road cracks. Probably the same with those bouncing landscape trailers. But the big bark chunks on myrtle are from logs,likely mckay ,harris to walnut

    • They do pay, in form of commercial weight fees that are supposed to go to the roads but are syphoned off into the general fund and they also pay in diesel tax, especially now that sb1 effects diesel more than gas but allot of those funds are being redirected to non road work also. So blame our stupid politicians that keep stealing road revenue for other “feel good” programs.

  • I’ve been driving Campton Road since the late 1960’s. I had no idea it was that bad. I’ll take a different route from now on.

  • Been driving this road for over 50 years. So, if I screw up and hit somebody, the city will pay me? Where do I sign up?

    • I think they will pay the people you hit. Not you. But then you certainly could find a lawyer to give it a go.

      • The secret is to arrange it with the person you’re going to hit in advance, and split the profits. Because somehow now the city is responsible for bad driving.

  • So much for that money it wont go to good use

  • The logging trucks are out daily, chew up the roads and cause the worst accidents (they are always to talk their way out of it because they usually hurt the person they run into so bad, those that survive). Some creep in a logging trick hit me from behind and talked his way out of it, even though he was 70 and half blind and it was clear that it was more than he could handle.

    They should have their own road away from regular traffic.

    • TRUMPTASTROPHE for the GOP in November

      Pretty much any locale in the vicinity of a truck yard is going to have torn up roads. Some lawyers should get their collective legal minds ⚖️🧠 together and figure out an additional means of extracting tax revenues (or “fees”) from ALL trucking companies. It’s their fault the roads are so f’d up in the first place.

  • There is no excuse for the conditions of our roads in Eureka, we need to put blame on the Trash trucks also. I’ve seen first hand what damage they cause when they have a load of garbage. Just drive to the city dump one day & you can see what they have done to that entire road. They need to be taxed more just for this. To help in repairing our roads. But they are not the entire problem in this. First of all the city needs to hire a company that knows what they are doing & not just saying so. These wholes they attempt to fix are not done correctly from start. Then that whole gets bigger until another crack or piece comes loose. Eureka once was a very proud city & clean. It is dump anymore, weeds along curbs mixed with trash in gutters, and businesses that are filthy from outside going inward. Parking lots, empty lots, alleys etc etc. No wonder the big ships pass us by. Nothing here but filth. City employees are responsible for the cleanup of our city do your job. Pathetic that s hippie city is cleaner & better maintained than the heart of Humboldt County. Sad but trying
    True. We need new people in office, caring people not money hungry losers we have now. It’s past time.

  • TRUMPTASTROPHE for the GOP in November

    The bottom line here is that Eureka, and the rest of Humboldt County for that matter, needs to spend more money on fixing the damn roads (many of which are in poor condition). 🔥 🚗 🔥⚰️

    But in Eureka, no, the conservative old-guard “good ol’ boys” (like Mr. John Fullerton & Mr. Marian Brady) would much rather spend that money on the waterfront in a desperately pointless attempt to attract cruise ships 🚢. WTF?

    • Why is an accountant that has money filtering from businesses that allow drug dealers from the east coast, to destroy our county running for office? Just asking.

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