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City of Gainesville ordered to pay $765k to man after Segway crash

Image from complaint

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The City of Gainesville has been ordered to pay Doug Haugen $765,000, including $675,000 for pain and suffering, after he sued following a scooter crash on a Gainesville sidewalk.

Haugen’s attorneys, Morgan and Morgan, stated in the complaint that Haugen was riding a Segway scooter at SE 3rd Street and SE 2nd Avenue on the night of April 12, 2020, when he crashed after riding into a recessed manhole cover on the sidewalk. Haugen’s attorneys claimed that the sidewalk was not properly maintained and that lighting in the area was not working; they said he fractured both arms and sustained additional injuries to his wrist, elbows, right knee, hands, and stomach.

Haugen said in a deposition that the scooter was a Segway Ninebot with in-line wheels, similar to the motorized scooters that are rented by the City.

The City of Gainesville claimed sovereign immunity and denied any negligence in maintaining the sidewalk or in lighting the area. The City also said it had “insufficient notice” of the recessed manhole cover and that the conditions encountered by Haugen “existed for such a short period of time that there was no notice to the City to reasonably warn or take corrective action.”

The City further asserted that Haugen didn’t wear any protective equipment and implied that it was because he said it kept him from going fast, but Haugen was clear in the deposition that he believed he would go faster if he wore protective equipment, and he didn’t want to go too fast. He said in the deposition that he thought he was going 5-6 mph at the time of the accident.

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A jury decided that the City was 100% responsible for Haugen’s injuries and that Haugen was not responsible. They awarded Haugen $26k for past medical expenses, $13k for future medical expenses, $50,000 for future lost earnings (and no award for lost earnings in the two years since the accident, presumably because he said he had retired before the accident but now wants to go back to work), $450,000 for past pain and suffering, and $225,000 for future pain and suffering.

  • Funny how the city “claimed sovereign immunity and denied any negligence in maintaining the sidewalk or in lighting the area.”
    Seems to be their “modus operandi” in dealing with all of their mistakes.

    Probably what the City Commissioners’ parents claim as well after having bred those idiots.

    All of you Democrats, keep believing.

  • They were too busy painting rainbows in crosswalks to worry about anything else. The rainbow crosswalks are another potential lawsuit, by the way.

  • Those things are allowed on the sidewalk? They need to outlaw all those scooters AND skateboards too… I thought those scooters had to be in the bike lanes…they can go like 15mph…

  • I think the guy was reckless & driving too fast… those scooters are very dangerous when it’s raining out too… The
    Scooter driver bears some responsibility for not watching where he was going akin to stepping into a pile of dog poop if you don’t watch where you walk….now, the city better fix EVERY pothole in the city.

  • He was on the sidewalk? …ever watch someone ride one of those things? They run stop signs and cross everywhere, they’re in the roads, they’re in bike lanes…. They should ban
    those rental scooters. If you crash, you break your ass and who pays?
    The taxpayers. —How many potholes could they have fixed for $750,000?

  • These scooters have such small wheels and are incapable of handling any surface deviation and are capable of traveling at such a high speed that they are inherently dangerous and the rider should assume all liability for even getting on one of them.

  • Is this the same city that resurfaced 43rd street but left the manhole covers about 2 inches lower and thought that was okay?
    Or is it the city that doesn’t answer the phones at Public Works, Parks Dept or any other service we pay for?
    Could this be the city that voted to allow quadraplexes in family neighborhoods despite a HUGE number of tax paying home owners showing up at meetings to stop the rezoning?
    Yep, City of Gainesville is poorly managed and going to lose those homeowners and the tax base they rely on!!

    • The same ones who wonder why they can’t find enough people to work as police, paramedics/EMS, GRU meter readers, animal shelter employees, etc. The ‘true believers’ (special snowflake progressive leftists) are mostly inept and incapable of holding real 9-to-5 jobs, and that’s the small percentage of people they cater to as they drive everyone else away.

    • Someone always answers the phones when I call the city, or they call me back in a reasonable amount of time. Our public works department and employees are actually pretty great.

      43rd Street is under county jurisdiction, so AC is to blame for that.

  • Another instance of failing to comprehend the difference between public and private. The city government’s responsibility is to maintain PUBLIC property. They will quickly (and reasonably) fine you for not fencing your swimming pool, yet they leave the Duck Pond wide open for children to potentially drown. Your taxes will pay for the liability from this poorly maintained sidewalk. No consequences at all for the politicians in charge. In fact, the City Attorney’s job becomes more important and secure the more people sue the city.

  • This is all a bunch of lawyer work. The guy was not being careful as to where he was going. If you drive where you can’t see…you’re stupid. I’ve done this as a kid. It’s fun to see how you adjust. I survived all mine even on a Lambretta going 50 miles / hour.

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