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Pothole spill could cost San Francisco $245K

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Courtesy of the Law Office of Michael & Michelle Mandel
The pothole in question was photographed Jan. 27

How much does a pothole cost in San Francisco? If someone steps in it, it could be $245,000.

A 68-year-old woman who broke both feet tripping on a pothole on Franklin Street two years ago might net that amount as part of a settlement with The City. Today, the Board of Supervisors is set to vote on a payout for the woman.

The injury occurred on the rainy night of Jan. 21, 2010. The woman had left the San Francisco Ballet’s season opener, said Michelle Mandel, whose law firm represents her.

The woman worked for the Ballet, Mandel said, and after the performance she went to its building at 455 Franklin St. to fetch her belongings. As she exited and walked to a waiting car, she stepped into the water-filled pothole. She tripped and broke both feet, which forced her to wear a bilateral cast, Mandel said.

The City was subsequently sued for negligence for failing to warn or guard pedestrians about the crumbled patch of pavement. Her lawsuit demanded compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity and emotional distress.

The City Attorney’s Office initially challenged the claim, saying in a court filing that the woman “voluntarily placed herself in a position of peril” by walking on the street.

The woman’s life, Mandel said, drastically changed after the spill. She wasn’t able to work for a few years and is “really fragile now.”


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