An 8th grade student was injured when he was struck crossing Roosevelt Boulevard at a dangerous mid-block cross walk which had no traffic control to regulate traffic. Attorneys Roberta Pichini and Jason Daria represented this young teenager. Daria conducted comprehensive and aggressive discovery against the City of Philadelphia and the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and those companies involved in the engineering and planning of the crosswalk, unearthing documents that revealed the absence of proper consideration in placing and maintaining this cross-walk despite its dangers. Multiple depositions were taken of City and Commonwealth officials, as well as of principals and engineers of the defendant engineering companies. Experts in highway design and safety and engineering authored detailed reports highly critical of the absence of professional testing considered to be standard protocol before such crosswalks should be installed. Letters to the city complaining of the dangers of such mid-block crosswalks, including one referring to them as “invitations to death” were discovered.
The city and state defendants mounted a vigorous defense and blamed the incident on the teenager and on the driver of the car that struck him. They also used experts to minimize his long-term injuries and denied any alteration in his long-term quality of life or vocational prospects. Proving damages posed difficulty, given the good recovery made by the teenager, his previous school record, his difficult family history and the absence of a work history for the parents of this boy. Municipal immunity made the maximum amount recoverable from the city and state defendants a total of $750,000.
Aggressive preparation of the case resulted in a settlement with the government and private defendants shortly before trial in the amount of $1,030,000. Some of the funds were used to purchase a structured settlement annuity to provide for a stream of income for the teenager to assure that funds were available for college or post-high school training.