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Calexico likely to reject separate claim involving injuries on city property

May 07, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — At its regular meeting tonight, the City Council here will likely reject claims against the city filed on behalf of a woman who said she tripped over a garden hose and another filed for a man who said he fell on a broken sidewalk.

If the council rejects the claims, those who filed them will have six months to file a complaint in Superior Court to recover alleged damages, according to City Attorney Michael Rood. If the council doesn't reject the claims, attorneys for the claimants have two years to file complaints, he said.

The woman who said she tripped over a hose, Mildred Whitley, was working for Granite Construction Inc. on April 20, 2001.

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According to a declaration by the attorney for Granite Construction of Watsonville and its insurer, Valley Forge Insurance Co. of Brea, Whitley was required, "within the course and scope of her employment," that day to locate the owner of a vehicle that had parked in the parking lot of Rosa's Plane Food while Granite was paving a parking lot "at or near the Calexico International Airport."

"Whitley went into Rosa's Plane Food restaurant and located the vehicle owner and when leaving the dark restaurant and exiting into the bright sunlight, did not reasonably see a garden hose that had been negligently left in a place so that it posed an unreasonable risk of danger to pedestrians walking the area as it constitutes a trip hazard," according to the declaration.

The Sacramento-based attorney goes on to claim, "Whitley sustained a grade III left ankle sprain, which has required significant medical treatment and has prevented her from working in the past and will likely prevent here from working in the future."

Granite Construction was required through its insurer to pay her workers' compensation benefits, according to the attorney.

"These benefits have included payment for medical treatment, temporary disability and permanent disability in the amount of $24,426, which is continuing and expected to increase," the attorney wrote.

Whitley's current or former place of residence was not mentioned in the claim.

In the space where a claimant can write in the names of "witnesses, hospitals, doctors, etc." the attorney for Granite and Valley Forge wrote in the names of Granite employees, a cook at Rosa's and an "unidentified security guard."

According to Sports Med Web, a Web site hosted by Houston's Rice University, "Most sprains heal completely within a few weeks. The more severe the injury, the longer the time to heal. Often it is necessary to continue rehab exercises for a month or two following the injury. Grade III injuries are usually managed conservatively — rehabilitation exercises, etc. — but a small percentage may require surgery."

According to a Web site called Medfacts.com, "With a strong rehabilitation program undertaken with care, (grade III ankle sprain) patients may gradually resume normal activities over a six-week period."

Meanwhile, the 66-year-old man who said he tripped and fell on a broken sidewalk in March, Isaias Zamudio of Calexico, has not claimed any damages.

In his claim he simply wrote, "Street department needs to fix broken and uneven sidewalk."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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