Our client was riding his bicycle northbound on the west sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge. At the north anchorage housing, the sidewalk widens to over 25 feet. There is a single light pole that sits less than 9 feet from the guardrail. It creates confusion as cyclists often do not know which side of the pole to ride on. Our review of over 300,000 pages of documents produced by the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District (the District) showed that over 30% of the bicycle-related accidents on the 1.7 mile long west sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge occurred within 150 feet either side of this single light post. Our client ran head on into another bicyclist. He was knocked off his bike, resulting in a cervical spinal fracture, paralysis from the neck down, and causing him to suffer a significant traumatic brain injury.
At the time the District’s Chief Engineer was Dennis Mulligan, who is now the District’s General Manager. Mr. Mulligan testified that although it would have cost less than $25,000 to move the light pole, he thought it was more important to preserve the aesthetic advantage of having all the polls line up visually than to move the pole that was proximate to over 30% of the bike accidents occurring on the bridge. The dangerous light pole is still there to this day, unpadded, and unmarked, and continues to impose unreasonable danger and risk for thousands of bicyclists who cross the bridge every week. The case settled with the District and the other cyclists for a confidential amount. During the litigation, the District threatened to close the bridge to cyclists forever rather than simply move the pole. Thankfully and wisely, it did not follow through with this threat.
Our client suffered partial paralysis of the right leg when her surgeon failed to identify and treat a retroperitoneal hematoma that arose after he performed her back surgery. When our client had leg weakness post surgically, the standard of care required the surgeon to order a neurological consult and conduct imaging that would have shown the hematoma at L2-L4 pressing on the client’s femoral nerve. The surgeon failed to order any of these tests. As a result, the postoperative hematoma caused irreversible ischemic injury to the femoral nerve, resulting in a permanent motor impingement of the right leg for our client. The case settled for a significant confidential amount.
Our client was in his 60s, but was a nationally ranked masters tennis player, and a single-handicap golfer. He underwent a hip replacement procedure at a local hospital. Similar to the case above, he experienced weakness in his right foot one day after the surgery, while he was still in the hospital. When delayed weakness like this presents the day after a surgery, the surgeon should consider the presence of a hematoma that formed after the surgery causing pressure on the sciatic nerve. The damage was irreversible and resulted in a permanent foot drop injury that required our client to walk with a special show and brace on his foot, holding his foot in a flexed position. He had to give up tennis, golf and all other physical activities. The case settled for a significant confidential amount.