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L.A. will pay $6.1 million to motorcyclist who hit potholes and crashed

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A 2015 motorcycle crash sparked a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to spend $6.1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a motorcyclist who suffered a severe brain injury when he crashed after hitting several potholes on a San Pedro street in 2015.

The city reached a settlement with Philip Ramon Alvarez in December.

Alvarez was riding his Harley Davidson on Oct. 11, 2015, on Western Avenue in San Pedro just south of 25th Street when he hit a series of “holes” in the roadway that caused him to crash, according to a complaint filed in August 2016.

The holes were caused by city employees using surveying equipment, according to Alvarez’s attorney, Santo Riccobono.

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Alvarez was 26 at the time of the crash and working as a so-called casual longshoreman, the part-time port workers who don’t receive benefits and often have to wait more than a decade to become registered union members.

“He got a pretty severe brain injury,” Riccobono said. “He will never be the same again. He will be reliant on his family and caretakers for the rest of his life.”

Alvarez can walk, but he is unable to work, Riccobono said.

City spending to end legal disputes over dangerous roads as well as other issues, including police misconduct, has increased in recent years. During the budget year ending in 2017, the city paid out more than $200 million in legal settlements and court judgments.

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One such case was a jury award for $23.7 million to the widow and son of a 59-year-old Northrop Grumman employee who died when his motorcycle struck a car that had inched into traffic on a San Pedro street.

Attorneys for Thomas Guilmette’s family argued that he would not have died if the intersection at Summerland and Cabrillo avenues had been properly designed.

javier.panzar@latimes.com

@jpanzar


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