By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
The legal result of a pair of notices of claim stemming from a July 2020 vehicle accident involving a Scottsdale police officer is on the public hearing schedule for Scottsdale City Council’s July 7 regular meeting.
The claims made against the municipality came following a multi-vehicle accident at the intersection of Frank Lloyd Wright and Northsight boulevards where allegedly a Scottsdale police officer rear-ended another driver resulting in injury to both the drive and passenger.
The formal approval of mediated out-of-court settlements is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, at Scottsdale City Hall, in cases Thompson v. City of Scottsdale, Case No. CV2021-052509; and Chong v. City of Scottsdale; Case No. CV2021-010548.
Both cases are pending at Maricopa County Superior Court, records show. The City Council report states the settlement amounts are $45,000 for Ms. Thompson and $30,000 for Ms. Chong, according to Scottsdale City Attorney Sherry R. Scott.
“Plaintiffs KC Thompson (passenger) and Tez Halee Chong (driver) were the sole occupants in a motor vehicle accident involving a patrol vehicle being driven by a Scottsdale police officer,” she said. “[The] Plaintiffs allege that Chong began driving forward into the intersection after being stopped at a red light when their car stalled, and a city of Scottsdale officer rear-ended their vehicle. Plaintiffs both allege that they were injured and incurred combined medical bills totaling $109,727.89 due to the collision.”
Records show two claims filed against the city for a combined $175,000 to settle.
“These proposed settlements would resolve the entirety of the consolidated lawsuits, including all related fees and costs,” Ms. Scott explained. “City staff is recommending that the City Council approve these settlements because the cost, uncertainty, and risk of going forward to trial in this case far outweigh the amount of the negotiated combined settlements.”
A joint decision
Between Risk Management and the City Attorney’s Office, the formal recommendation is to move forward the settlement approval this Tuesday, June 7, at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.
“The proposed settlements will require a combined total payment of $75,000 from the city to the plaintiffs as set forth in the respective settlement agreements,” Ms. Scott said in her report to City Council.
“Funds are available in the city’s Risk Management operating budget. If the settlements are denied, the city will likely spend that amount or more in costs and attorneys’ fees in the defense of this case through trial. The proposed combined settlements of $75,000 may be included in the city’s primary property tax rate for the next year.”
According to an Arizona Attorney General opinion, settlement and judgment payments are eligible for inclusion in a municipal primary tax rate here in Arizona.
“The city of Scottsdale has a long-standing practice of including paid tort settlements equal to or greater than $20,000 in the city’s primary tax rate to reimburse the self-insured fund for payment of the claim,” Ms. Scott said.