City and County Pay Off in Crash Involving Mayor
A 35-year-old maintenance worker has been awarded $1.6 million under an unusual agreement calling for the city of Villa Park and a county agency to compensate him for injuries he suffered in a traffic accident, his attorney said Monday.
David Walling was riding his motorcycle out of the Orange County Sanitation District headquarters in Fountain Valley on March 25, 1986, when he was struck by a car driven by Carol Kawanami, then mayor of Villa Park.
Walling suffered eight broken bones and minor brain damage that left him with a speech impediment and forced him to be out of work more than a year.
His attorney, Sam Eagle of Newport Beach, said that at the time of the accident Kawanami was also a member of the board of the sanitation district. She had been on her way to a meeting at the district’s facility on Ellis Avenue.
Although Kawanami was driving her personal car, she was considered to be on official business, he said.
“This became a unique case because she was considered as working for two employers at the time of the accident--the city of Villa Park and the Orange County Sanitation District,” Eagle said.
The lawyer said a “good working relationship” between him and attorneys for Villa Park and the sanitation district was responsible for the out-of-court settlement, which was reached on Oct. 28 and averted a lawsuit.
Eagle said the agreement was not announced until Monday because the Villa Park City Council and the sanitation district board had to give approval.
Under the settlement, Walling will receive a lump sum of $350,000. He is also entitled to $1,750 a month for life. Eagle said his client will also get payments of $20,000 to $90,000 a year for the next five years.
Eagle said that Kawanami’s automobile insurance company paid the initial $100,000 of the settlement and that Villa Park and the Orange County Sanitation District will assume the rest equally.
Kawanami, who is still a member of the Villa Park City Council, was unavailable for comment Monday.