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San Diego to pay nearly $900,000 for trip and fall case that it failed to appear for in court, city says it was never served

City Attorney's Office says it wasn't served in the case and plans to try and vacate the ruling.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego taxpayers must pay nearly $900,000 in a trip and fall lawsuit after attorneys for the city failed to appear in court or submit any legal filings.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Frazier issued his final judgment on July 29 in favor of Diane Lloyd, a 74-year-old woman who stepped off a curb in Clairemont and landed in a large pothole outside the Clairemont Mesa post office in December 2020.

The ruling awarded Lloyd a total of $898,843, the vast majority of which - $594,000 - for pain and suffering.

Credit: CBS 8
Screenshot of Lloyd judgment

Lloyd badly fractured both ankles in the fall, according to a declaration from her doctor filed in court earlier this month. Lloyd, according to her doctor, had to undergo emergency surgery to place screws and plates to support her ankles.

Lloyd's attorneys had initially asked for $2.49 million in damages.

Credit: CBS 8
Screenshot of court filing listing Lloyd's damages

On July 7, Lloyd and her attorneys were in court for a default prove-up hearing. Absent from the courtroom that day were attorneys for the city of San Diego.

A day earlier, CBS 8 contacted the City Attorney's Office about the "default prove-up hearing. The City Attorney's Office did not respond to the questions.

At the hearing, Lloyd's attorneys from the Gomez Law Firm said they served the city with the lawsuit and made all the necessary filings.

Lloyd's attorney, Allison Worden, addressed the city's absence during the July 7 hearing.

"The city has had notice of this case. You have the filings. They were served appropriately, compliant with the law," Worden told the judge. "They willfully chose to not participate in this and not address the claims that Ms. Lloyd has."

However, the City Attorney's Office says Lloyd's attorneys were the ones to drop the ball not the city.

In response to questions about the judge's award, a spokesperson for the city attorney says the city was not served properly and was not aware of the case.

"The City did not fail to present a defense in this case," wrote the director of communications. Richard Jackaway. "To date, the city has still never been properly served with the complaint in the Lloyd matter."

Added Jackaway, "The real story here is why the Gomez Law Firm, who sues the city on a regular basis and knows how to serve the city, failed to do so properly in this case and represented otherwise to the court.  The documents that the city has pulled from the Court Register of Actions indicate that the complaint was provided to an individual in Risk Management, which is not a proper legal service of the city. The city will be moving to vacate the default/judgment shortly."

CBS 8 reached out to Lloyd's attorneys at the Gomez Firm but did not receive a response. We will update the article when and if we do.

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