SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica, Santa Monica Community College District, and Lyft are being sued for personal injury and property damage by Dorothy Green, 87, who filed suit after she sustained multiple bone fractures after tripping over a Lyft operated scooter outside of Santa Monica Community College Emeritus Campus. According to court documents, Green is seeking $500,000 in damages.
The complaint alleges both the city and Lyft were negligent and created a public nuisance. Green’s daughter dropped her off at the campus on September 24, 2018. As Green exited the vehicle, she tripped onto a scooter falling back first on the ground. The scooter was located at a “passenger loading only” zone in front of the school, designated by the city of Santa Monica as a “no deployment zone” for electric scooters.
According to documents submitted by attorney Catherine Lere, the injuries Green sustained required medical attention that resulted in surgical procedures for her hip and elbow.
“Ms. Green suffered five fractures in her pelvis. Her quality of life and independence have dramatically changed as a result of her injuries,” said Lere.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Theresa Traber overruled objections made by Lyft and the city of Santa Monica to Green’s complaint. Judge Traber stated that Green’s allegations justified her case against Lyft and the city. She ruled that Santa Monica was liable for Green’s injuries due to the fact that they “failed to impound scooters that were placed in a no deployment zone.”
Judge Traber also indicated in her ruling that the court disagreed with the city of Santa Monica seeking immunity from liability on the basis of technicalities in the scooter policy decision.
“This decision is not a basic policy decision. Rather, this decision is an operational decision,” Traber wrote.
Santa Monica launched its Shared Mobility Pilot Program in September 2018 to be responsive to community needs and technological advancements allowing Lyft, Bird, Lime, and Jump to distribute bikes around the city. City officials in charge of the program decided to explore, test, and evaluate shared mobility devices as a new sustainable transportation option that would potentially advance the communities broader transportation goals.
In a November 2019 summary report of the program, city officials stated that they did not have a playbook for regulating and managing the new services. According to the report, user behavior of the bikes contributed to pedestrian discomfort. The companies involved in the pilot program “share the accountability to address sidewalk safety, and to develop systems that manage user behavior when operating their device.”
Santa Monica City Council reviewed the November 2019 report at the meeting held on Tuesday, November 12 at 5:30 p.m. to decide whether or not to continue extending the program.
Future hearings on the case will transpire on:
11/26/2019 at 3:30 p.m. in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Hearing on Demurrer – without Motion to Strike
12/29/2020 at 10:00 a.m. in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Final Status Conference
01/12/2021 at 08:30 a.m. in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
07/12/2022 at 08:30 a.m. in Department 4A at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal