CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Arash Homampour delivering his closing argument
Los Angeles, CA - The City of Glendale reached a $6 million settlement with the family of an elderly woman struck and killed by a car in an unmarked city crosswalk, while a California state court jury deliberated in her family’s lawsuit over claims the crosswalk was unsafe.
The settlement came as jurors returned on a Monday for a third day of deliberations after hearing closing arguments on March 15, according to attorney Arash Homampour of the Homampour Law Firm, who represented the family of decedent Novar Ismailyan. After the trial Homampour told Courtroom View Network, which recorded the full trial gavel-to-gavel, that the $6 million settlement was “justice in and of itself on a case where there were no offers before trial.”
Ismailyan’s family sued the city following her death in 2018, when she was struck by an oncoming car while using an unmarked city crosswalk in the evening. Homampour asked jurors to award more than $10 million due to the supposed lack of signage and other warnings to alert drivers about pedestrians in the road, but the city maintained Ismailyan’s death was caused by the allegedly speeding driver, who was not an active party in the case when it went to trial.
An attorney for the city did not respond to a request for comment.
The full trial was webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by CVN, starting with the trial’s opening statements on March 6. Video of the trial, including all witness testimony, is available on-demand with a subscription to CVN’s online trial video library, where it is included among hundreds of other civil trials from jurisdictions around the country.
Homampour told CVN after the trial that Ismailyan’s family was more concerned with preventing similar accidents in the future than a large monetary award.
“Our clients' primary concern was never money, but justice for the death of their matriarch and for this to never happen again to another family,” he said.
Homampour said the most challenging facts of the case included the defense argument that there had not been any pedestrian accidents at that location in over 30 years. During opening statements an attorney for the city explained to jurors how that meant over 100 million vehicles passing the crosswalk without incident.
Homampour believed his retort, emphasized in openings and closings and summarized generally as “there is no law that gives a city one free death before they fix something dangerous” helped counter that argument for the jurors.
He also said the fact the driver was traveling at the prevailing speed of traffic at the time mitigated the city’s arguments about the speed limit.
Despite the eventual settlement, Homampour expressed hope that taking dangerous condition cases like this to trial will spur local governments to take more proactive safety measures.
“Taking cases like this to trial serves as a reminder to cities to periodically inspect their roads (as they are required to by law) to uncover obviously unsafe locations to prevent deaths before they happen,” he said.
The City of Glendale was represented by Dana McCune of McCune & Harber LLP.
The trial took place before Judge Frederick Shaller.
The case is captioned Sheram Nadimyan, et al. v. City of Glendale, case number 19STCV29013, in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
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