United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
H. ZIELKE, Law Firm of David H. Zielke.
ANNETTE L. HAYES United States Attorney TRICIA BOERGER, WSBA
#38581 Assistant United States Attorney Western District of
Washington United States Attorney's Office.
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
is vested in this Court by virtue of the Federal Tort Claims
Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b) and
2679(b)(1). The United States has waived sovereign immunity
for the negligent or wrongful acts or omissions of any
federal employee acting within the scope of employment, under
circumstances where the United States, if a private person,
would be liable to the plaintiff in accordance with the law
of the place where the act or omission occurred. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1346(b). The parties agree that Washington
substantive law applies to this case.
CLAIMS AND DEFENSES
trial, Plaintiff intends to pursue relief in the form of
damages sustained by Plaintiff in the amount of $800, 200.00,
including past and future medical expenses and other health
care expenses, pain and suffering, both mental and physical,
past and future permanent partial disability and
disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, damages to
property, past and future special damages, and exemplary and
Defendant will pursue the following defenses and/or claims
for relief to Plaintiff's negligence claim:
1. Plaintiff cannot meet her burden of proof to establish
negligence by the United States because:
a. The government driver complied with any duty owed to
Plaintiff by waiting to turn left onto International
Boulevard until the protected left turn signal was
illuminated, checking to ensure the turning lane was clear
before proceeding, and exercising the care expected of a
reasonably prudent driver in similar circumstances.
b. Plaintiff appeared suddenly in the street and was not seen
or able to be seen by the government driver, or by an
eyewitness following the government vehicle through the turn,
until immediately before the collision.
2. Plaintiff failed to comply with her duty to obey the Do
Not Walk signal and yield the right-of-way to vehicles
turning northbound onto International Boulevard during a
protected left turn signal.
3. Plaintiff failed to comply with her duty to yield the
right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway when crossing
outside of a marked crosswalk.
4. Plaintiff's injury was caused by her own negligence in
crossing the street against a protected left turn signal and
while the Do Not Walk signal was illuminated.
5. Plaintiff's injury was caused by her own negligence in
crossing the street at least ten feet outside of the
6. Plaintiff failed to exercise ordinary care for her own
safety when crossing the street by failing to obey the Do Not
Walk signal, failing to use the crosswalk, failing to yield
the right-of-way to the government vehicle, and failing to
see the government vehicle in the seven seconds it took the
vehicle to travel from its stopped position to the point of
7. If the Court finds that the government employee was
negligent-a claim which the United States specifically
denies-Plaintiff's recovery, if any, should be reduced in
proportion to her contributory fault (see RCW
4.22.005) for the reasons enumerated above.
8. Plaintiff failed to mitigate her damages by refusing to
fully participate in her recommended physical therapy and
discontinuing physical therapy before it was complete.
9. Plaintiff failed to mitigate her damages by timely seeking
treatment for ongoing pain in her hip, waiting only a few
weeks before trial to seek treatment when she knew or
reasonably should have known of the need for treatment at
least six months earlier, if not more.
following facts are admitted by the parties:
1. The intersection of S. 188th Street and International
Boulevard in SeaTac, Washington is controlled by four traffic
signals and four traffic control devices; one for each
direction of travel through the intersection.
2. There are four crosswalks at this intersection, one for
each direction of travel through the intersection.
3. There is a crosswalk on the north side of International
Boulevard at S. 188th Street, which is controlled by a
traffic control device (“walk signal”).
4. There is a prompt button on the north side of
International Boulevard at S. 188th Street that must be
pressed in order to obtain a walk signal.
5. The next intersection to the north of International
Boulevard at S. 188th Street is S. 184th Street, which is
controlled by traffic signals and has three crosswalks, one
in each direction, except the north side.
6. The traffic signals, traffic control devices, and
crosswalks at the intersection of S. 188th Street and
International Boulevard are substantially the same today as
they were on May 26, 2013.
7. On May 26, 2013, Plaintiff was 60 years old.
8. On May 26, 2013 at approximately 3:45 a.m., Plaintiff was
crossing International Boulevard on the north side of the
intersection with S. 188th Street in SeaTac, Washington.
9. On May 26, 2013 at approximately 3:45 a.m., Deidre
Stoddard was driving a United States Postal Service vehicle
and was acting within the scope and course of her employment
for the United States Postal Service.
10. The United States Postal Service vehicle was a 1998 Ford
11. On May 26, 2013 at approximately 3:45 a.m., Ms. Stoddard
was traveling eastbound on S. 188th Street in SeaTac,
Washington, and stopped at a traffic signal while waiting to
make a left turn onto northbound International Boulevard.
12. Ms. Stoddard was first in line waiting to turn left onto
northbound International Boulevard.
13. Ms. Stoddard just missed the protected left turn arrow
and had to wait through the traffic signal sequence before
obtaining the next protected left turn arrow.
14. On May 26, 2013 at approximately 3:45 a.m., Bradley Hall
was driving a semi-tractor trailer for Blue Tick Trucking,
LLC, and was immediately behind the Postal Service vehicle in
the left turn lane on S. 188th Street.
15. When the protected left turn arrow illuminated for
eastbound S. 188th Street, Ms. Stoddard proceeded to turn
left onto northbound International Boulevard.
16. Mr. Hall followed Ms. Stoddard's vehicle through the
protected left turn arrow, turning left onto northbound
17. At some point during or immediately following the
protected left turn, the Postal Service vehicle made contact
18. The contact between the vehicle and Plaintiff was at the
front left corner (driver's side) of the vehicle.
19. The contact occurred in the western lane of northbound
20. Ms. Stoddard stopped the Postal Service vehicle in the
right lane of northbound International Boulevard, past the
point of contact, and immediately returned to attend to
21. Mr. Hall stopped his semi-tractor trailer behind the
Postal Service vehicle and the trailer section of his vehicle
was parked in the north crosswalk on International Boulevard.
22. Officer Michael Yamamoto of the SeaTac Police Department
was dispatched to the scene at 3:49 a.m. and arrived at
approximately 3:57 a.m.
23. Plaintiff was transported to Highline Medical Center by
emergency response personnel.
24. Plaintiff was examined by medical personnel and diagnosed
with left hip fractures and a mild scalp hematoma with
superficial erosion in the left parietal region.
25. Dr. William Clark performed a three-screw fixation
surgery on May 27, 2013 to repair the hip fractures.
26. Plaintiff remained at Highline Medical Center until June
3, 2013, when she was transferred to Avalon Healthcare, Inc.,
a rehabilitation facility for recovery and was released on
July 2, 2013.
27. On May 26, 2013, Plaintiff was employed full-time by
Concessions International, LLC, and part-time by Host
28. Plaintiff was cleared by Dr. Clark to return to work on
August 20, 2013.
29. Plaintiff resigned her position with Host International,
Inc. on or about August 21, 2013.
ISSUES OF LAW
Plaintiff submits the following are issues of law to be
determined by the Court:
1. Did Ms. Stoddard have a duty to yield the right-of-way to
pedestrians in the crosswalk at the time of the incident?
2. Did Ms. Stoddard have a duty to exercise reasonable care
to avoid striking pedestrians crossing the roadway at the
time of the incident?
3. Did Ms. Stoddard, as the driver of a vehicle approaching a
crosswalk, have a duty of continuous observation at the time
of the incident?
4. Did Ms. Stoddard have a duty to see what would be seen by
a person exercising ordinary care at the time of the
5. Did Ms. Stoddard have the right to assume others will
exercise ordinary care, and did she have a right to proceed
on such assumption until she knew, or in the exercise of
ordinary care, should have known, to the contrary?
6. Has Plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence
that the United States breached a duty owed to Plaintiff at
the time ...