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San Diego pays more than $376K in trip-and-fall and bike lane lawsuits in just 30 days

Payouts over San Diego's shattered sidewalks and buckling bike lanes continue as city races to address infrastructure backlog.

SAN DIEGO — In his latest budget, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria pledged $12.8 million dollars to repair crumbling and cratered sidewalks citywide.

In the meantime, the city continues to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to those hurt and injured on buckling sidewalks and pothole-ridden bike lanes. 

According to data obtained by CBS 8, in just a 30-day period from May 28 through June 28, the city paid $333,786 to settle 11 trip and fall lawsuits and legal claims.

During that short 30-day period, the city also paid $42,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by a cyclist who fell due to a dilapidated bike lane.

City documents show that the injuries occurred between 2018 through 2021.

The highest payout occurred on June 6, 2022, for $150,000 to Marguerite Coats who tripped and fell on a sidewalk on Diane Avenue in Clairemont Mesa. According to a 2020 lawsuit, Coats tripped and fell on a broken section of the sidewalk.

Credit: Court Document
Photo of sidewalk defect

Reads the lawsuit, "The sidewalk was significantly raised in two areas on which [Coats] tripped and fell, suffering significant injuries to her mouth, specifically her two center front teeth, two lower teeth, her upper lip which required surgery, cuts, and scrapes to her hands and knees, and a dislocation of her left elbow."

On June 2, the city of San Diego signed another check for $50,000 made to Ellen Bolden who fell on a raised piece of concrete at a water meter on Lansdale Drive in Carmel Valley and injured both of her shoulders. 

Other payouts include the city paying $42,500 to a cyclist who suffered injuries after falling off his bike on Del Mar Heights Road. 

Meanwhile, Mayor Gloria has stated that he will focus on addressing San Diego's crumbling infrastructure and more than a billion-dollar backlog.

“The City has historically pushed a lot of critical infrastructure needs to the back burner over the past few decades and I won’t allow us to do that any longer,” said Gloria in a May 12 statement. “My budget proposal is a commitment to rebuilding San Diego and a better future for all of us – a future with a reliable water supply, functional stormwater and sewer systems, smooth streets, and great parks and libraries in every neighborhood.”

In a statement, the Mayor's Office said sidewalk and street repair is a top priority for Mayor Gloria.

"San Diego’s infrastructure has deteriorated because past administrations failed to invest in badly needed repairs," said a spokesperson. "The City has recently made an unprecedented commitment to address those needs with the largest infrastructure investment in City history through Mayor Gloria's Ready to Rebuild Budget for fiscal year 2023, which began on July 1, 2022. We are focused on making operational improvements like streamlining contracting procedures, reforming outdated policies like our development impact fee structure with the Build Better SD program, and putting equity at the center of everything we're working toward."

However, the payouts will continue and could come at a greater cost to taxpayers. 

As first reported by CBS 8, attorneys for the city failed to respond to a lawsuit filed by 73-year-old Diane Lloyd who stepped off of the curb and into a large pothole on Clairemont Drive. The woman's attorneys say they served the city with the lawsuit and never heard back. By failing to answer the lawsuit, the city forfeits the case and leaves it to the judge to decide how much to award Lloyd.

Lloyd's attorneys are asking the judge to award $2.496 million dollars.

A spokesperson for the City Attorney's Office and the Mayor's Office told CBS 8 that Lloyd's attorneys did not serve the lawsuit to the correct department. 

According to the court docket, the city has yet to file any motions in the case.

The judge is expected to rule on the final damages in the coming weeks.

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