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L.A. to pay up to $3 million to settle suit from woman injured in fall on sidewalk

The Los Angeles City Council agreed unanimously Wednesday to pay up to $3 million to settle a lawsuit lodged by a woman who was injured on a Hollywood sidewalk.

Holli Breakfield was being carried on the back of another person who tripped over "a pattern of defects on the sidewalk," causing her to tumble and hit her head on the concrete, according to her lawsuit.

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The incident happened on New Year's Eve 2014. Breakfield later filed a claim with the city for more than $10 million.

In her lawsuit, she claimed that poor lighting, a "lack of warnings about ridges, jagged edges and erosion," and leaves strewn across the sidewalk had led to serious injuries.

Attorney Aghavni Kasparian, who represented Breakfield, could not immediately be reached for comment after the Wednesday morning announcement.

In court filings, the city denied that the sidewalk was in dangerous condition and argued that Breakfield had been injured because of her own negligence. In a legal declaration, a deputy city attorney noted that she was being carried piggyback on the way to a dance club just before midnight.

The City Council voted 11 to 0 to approve the payment.

Legal payouts have put increasing strain on the city budget in recent years. Last budget year, the city paid out more than $200 million, according to figures provided by the city attorney's office — a dramatic surge from a decade earlier, when it was spending roughly $36 million annually.

Troubled by those increases, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city officials have created a cabinet focused on "risk reduction" to try to reduce liability.

Twitter: @AlpertReyes

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