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Lugo v. City of Los Angeles

$6.6 Million Settlement

Landmark Case:

Lugo v. City of Los Angeles

The Settlement:

$6.6 Million

Attorneys:

Brian Panish, Kevin Boyle, Rahul Ravipudi and Robert Glassman

Practice Areas:

Auto & Car Accidents, Wrongful Death

CASE SYNOPSIS

Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represented the husband and son of Jovanna Lugo, who was tragically killed when the car she was driving was hit by a Los Angeles Police Department marked patrol traveling at night, at high speeds and without any lights down Ms. Lugo’s residential street in Sylmar.

On the night of April 21, 2010, Jovanna Lugo, a 27 year-old wife and mother, had relatives visiting from out of town who were staying at her sister’s house down the street. Jovanna invited the relatives over for an evening of hot chocolate and light snacks at her home. Rather than having the relatives walk the short distance to her house, Jovanna decided to pick them up.

Just as she pulled onto her street, a black and white LAPD cruiser driving without any lights (no head lights or emergency lights flashing), no siren sounding, at 60 miles per hour (well in excess of the 35 per hour speed limit) and while straddling the double yellow lines, broadsided the driver’s side front door of Jovanna’s car, pushing it across the street and into a brick column and wrought iron fence. Jovanna was trapped in the crushed car, and ultimately succumbed to her catastrophic injuries. Her husband, having heard the loud crash, immediately ran outside to render aid to her and was by her side when she died.

It was later discovered that the LAPD cruiser was not responding to any emergency at the time of the accident – the only time when an officer may violate basic traffic laws. Even if it had been responding to an emergency, officers cannot violate any rules of the road unless they initiate a “Code 3” response which requires the use of emergency lights and sirens.

Plaintiffs filed suit on November 17, 2010 against the City of Los Angeles and Officers Brubaker and Hooper for the wrongful death of Ms. Lugo, including for negligence, negligent hiring, retention, supervision and training, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The family was awarded $6.6 million by the City of Los Angeles. This is the largest ever wrongful death award paid by the City of Los Angeles in a crash with an LAPD vehicle.

Lugo v. City of Los Angeles Case Articles

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