City settles slip-and-fall case for $30K

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Glendale has agreed to pay $30,000 to an elderly couple who was injured on a city sidewalk after the husband tripped on raised pavement near a tree and fell, bringing his wife down with him.

The City Council announced the settlement during a meeting this week after discussing the matter behind closed doors.

Hamazasp Pirijanlou, 83, was walking arm in arm with his 78-year-old wife, Zartar, in the 700 block of North Louise Street on June 13, 2010, when Hamazasp Pirijanlou tripped and dragged his wife down with him.

Hamazasp Pirijanlou displaced his pinky finger and damaged his back, while Zartar Pirijanlou tore her rotator cuff in her left shoulder and suffered bruises on her elbows and knees, according to court records.

The Glendale couple’s medical bills from the incident added up to about $15,000, court documents show.

The Pirijanlous claimed that the city failed to provide a safe place to walk and negligently allowed members of the public to be exposed to dangerous conditions.

“We are pleased that we were able to reach an amicable settlement with the city of Glendale without protracted litigation especially considering the age of our clients and their desire to settle,” Alex Sarajian, a Burbank lawyer who represented the couple, said in an email.

The couple originally filed their lawsuit in July 2011 after the city denied their claim for damages five months earlier.

In court documents, Andrew Rawcliffe, a city attorney, argued that the city of Glendale was not responsible for the injuries because officials were unaware of the uplifted sidewalk before the couple fell.

Four months after the accident, the city repaired the sidewalk after a meter reader reported the bad sidewalk conditions to the city’s maintenance services division, according to court records.

Maintenance workers repaired the sidewalk in November 2010, a month before the Pirijanlouses submitted their claim for damages to the city, Rawcliffe wrote. A claim for damages must be submitted before a lawsuit can be filed.

But Sarajian said in court documents that the condition of the sidewalk had been present long enough for the city to discover the issue and correct it. The sidewalk was raised by more than 1 inch, he said.

City Atty. Mike Garcia described the settlement as a reasonable amount because, if the case had gone to trial, the city might have had to pay $10,000 to $15,000 for expert fees, jury fees and other costs, but not attorney’s fees since the city handled the case in-house. The $30,000 settlement included Sarajian’s fees.

“We do not think we are liable, but as with any case, we have to assess the settlement proposal against the risk of a larger verdict,” Garcia said in an email message.

This isn’t the first time Glendale has settled a trip-and-fall case. In 2012, the city agreed to pay a man $125,000 who fell over a raised sidewalk and permanently injured his left eye.


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