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Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., Nov. 17
"Au revoir, gopher."
A man is suing the City of San Diego after permanently damaging his right leg by stepping in a gopher hole at Robb Field in Ocean Beach while playing a game of football.
Andre Walker's complaint, filed on August 27, alleges that the City park has been taken over by gophers, other burrowing rodents. The City, despite being fully aware of the infestation, failed to act on the complaints. As a result the park has turned into an obstacle course for parkgoers.
The City "knew, or should have known, of the ineffectiveness of the maintenance and eradication program to eradicate and control gophers, ground squirrels and other unknown rodents that were causing the holes, dirt mounds and uneven surfaces at Robb Field during the period of time leading up to the date of the hereinafter-described incident that caused the injuries and damages suffered by plaintiff, Andre Walker. This knowledge existed long enough for the City of San Diego, its employees and its outside vendors, including, but not limited to, defendant Epic Pest Control & Landscape Services, Inc. to take steps to change its maintenance and eradication program and thereby eliminate the cause of the holes, dirt mounds and other uneven surfaces so that steps could be taken to fill the holes and level the surface to a reasonable condition so that it would not be substantially hazardous to persons using Robb Field."
The City has been tripped up on this issue for years. Back in May 2009, the Park and Recreation department hired an outside company to eradicate the rodents, as reported by the UT San Diego. Baiting the rodents, however, didn't sit well with activist group, the Animal Protection and Rescue League. In August 2009, a representative told SDNews.com that it objected to poisoning the rodents.
“They had someone coming out and baiting once a week, which we don’t approve of,” said APRL outreach director Christina Tacoronti. “They were also thinking about using other lethal methods to get rid of the gophers.”
More recently, one Ocean Beach resident brought the issue up to Mayor Bob Filner during a town hall meeting in February, as was reported by the OB Rag.
Walker, according to his complaint, blew out his knee and injured his lower leg after stepping into the hole. He also suffered nerve damage. According to the lawsuit, he is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.