Settlements reached in Costa civil trial

Family members of the two victims who were killed in a fatal 2009 runaway big-rig crash in La Cañada Flintridge have reached tentative settlements totaling $3.15 million.

The settlements — reached with the truck’s driver, Marcos Costa, who was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter, and the California Department of Transportation — were agreed to Thursday during a conference in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Glendale.

The family of Palmdale residents George and Angelina Posca — who were killed when Costa’s truck barreled through the intersection of Foothill Boulevard after losing its brakes on Angeles Crest Highway — filed wrongful death lawsuits against Costa and Caltrans and La Cañada.

Charles Nettels, Costa’s civil attorney, said he had reached a tentative settlement agreement that would award the Posca family $900,000 of Costa’s $1 million insurance policy. The other $100,000 would be split among the remaining claimants, of which there are roughly 25, including insurance companies, other injured drivers and businesses in the area, Nettels said.

“Everybody has agreed to our settlement offer, all the different parties and claimants, it’s just a matter now of taking care of some details, getting people to sign releases and whatnot,” he said.

In addition, Chris Hiddleson, representing Caltrans, said that the state had settled with the Posca family for $2.25 million.

“We have settled all the claims that the members of the Posca family made, which means the Poscas will be dismissing their claims against the state,” said Hiddleson.

Superior Court Judge Laura Matz ordered the parties to return for a trial-setting conference on Jan. 18, but Nettels said that by then the case might end up falling apart completely, since the Posca family had begun discussing a settlement with the city of La Cañada Flintridge.  

“If that settles, then the Poscas will be out of the case entirely, and it might be the beginning of the end of the rest of the case,” Nettels said. “As long as the Poscas are in the case shouldering the expense, [other claimants] can kind of tag along, but once the Poscas are out of it, and these other people have to do it themselves, it’s not so attractive anymore.”

Scott Grossberg, who is representing La Cañada, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
 -- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

Editor's note: This story has been updated from an earlier version

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