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Sidewalk casualty vs. the City vs. Little Italy

Maintenance assessment district said not to have done its job

On May 24, city-council members will consider whether to end a yearlong legal fight over a broken sidewalk in Little Italy that caused a woman to fall and break both of her ankles.

According to the complaint, Diane Vranjes was walking on a sidewalk along Ivy Street in Little Italy in January 2014 when she encountered a poorly lit section of sidewalk. It was there, according to Vranjes’s lawsuit, that the sidewalk unexpectedly dropped off. The complaint further alleged that the city had been informed of the dangerous section of sidewalk long before she’d fallen.

Vranjes asked the city pay for lost wages and for hospital and rehabilitation expenses.

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In March of this year the city tried to place legal blame on Little Italy's maintenance assessment district by filing a cross-complaint against the nonprofit. In the complaint, city attorneys faulted the association for failing to notify city workers of the dangerous conditions along Ivy Street.

Attorneys for the city argued that while the city is responsible for ensuring safe access to pedestrians, the association knew long before that the lack of lighting and the uneven sidewalk posed a safety hazard. Attorneys included a passage from the assessment-district agreement the two sides entered into back in 2011.

"...The association shall have no obligation to repair or otherwise protect against such conditions, and shall have no conditions, except to the extent the condition is directly caused by the negligence or willful misconduct of the association, its employees or agents or if the observed condition is not immediately barricaded and reported as required in this provision."

Continued the complaint, "The city is informed and believes, and on such information and belief alleges that [the Little Italy Association]...observed the alleged condition described by [Vranjes] in her complaint, but failed to immediately barricade it and report it to the city as required..."

On Tuesday, May 24, attorneys for the city will update city councilmembers on the case and a potential settlement agreement. According to the court's website, the civil jury trial was set for June 30 of this year. On May 11, however, the court vacated the scheduled trial and submitted a notice of dismissal for the case.

The terms of the settlement have not been released.

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On May 24, city-council members will consider whether to end a yearlong legal fight over a broken sidewalk in Little Italy that caused a woman to fall and break both of her ankles.

According to the complaint, Diane Vranjes was walking on a sidewalk along Ivy Street in Little Italy in January 2014 when she encountered a poorly lit section of sidewalk. It was there, according to Vranjes’s lawsuit, that the sidewalk unexpectedly dropped off. The complaint further alleged that the city had been informed of the dangerous section of sidewalk long before she’d fallen.

Vranjes asked the city pay for lost wages and for hospital and rehabilitation expenses.

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In March of this year the city tried to place legal blame on Little Italy's maintenance assessment district by filing a cross-complaint against the nonprofit. In the complaint, city attorneys faulted the association for failing to notify city workers of the dangerous conditions along Ivy Street.

Attorneys for the city argued that while the city is responsible for ensuring safe access to pedestrians, the association knew long before that the lack of lighting and the uneven sidewalk posed a safety hazard. Attorneys included a passage from the assessment-district agreement the two sides entered into back in 2011.

"...The association shall have no obligation to repair or otherwise protect against such conditions, and shall have no conditions, except to the extent the condition is directly caused by the negligence or willful misconduct of the association, its employees or agents or if the observed condition is not immediately barricaded and reported as required in this provision."

Continued the complaint, "The city is informed and believes, and on such information and belief alleges that [the Little Italy Association]...observed the alleged condition described by [Vranjes] in her complaint, but failed to immediately barricade it and report it to the city as required..."

On Tuesday, May 24, attorneys for the city will update city councilmembers on the case and a potential settlement agreement. According to the court's website, the civil jury trial was set for June 30 of this year. On May 11, however, the court vacated the scheduled trial and submitted a notice of dismissal for the case.

The terms of the settlement have not been released.

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