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City to pay $130K to settle personal injury lawsuits

Baltimore city’s spending panel is scheduled Wednesday to approve payments totaling $130,000 to resolve two personal injury claims.

In one case before the Board of Estimates, the mother of a then-Highlandtown Elementary School student will receive $60,000 to settle her lawsuit alleging her son’s right foot was crushed during recess in April 2011 by a dropped manhole cover.

Reyna Garcia Romero’s son, then 9 years old, was injured when a group of children were attempting to remove the manhole cover from the ground, according to the lawsuit filed in August 2013. A memo prepared for the board by the city’s Law Department states the children were attempting to remove a “large grate” to retrieve a toy that fell into the hole.

The city’s lawyers claim the children dropped the grate on the boy’s big toe. He was taken to the hospital and remained there overnight, according to the memo. The injury resulted in the boy’s big toe being amputated two months later, according to the memo; the lawsuit, however, says he had to have several toes removed.

The lawsuit sought an unspecified amount of damages for negligence and for the boy’s pain and suffering. The case was settled and dismissed Dec. 12, 2014, three days before it was scheduled for trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court, according to online court records.

The Law Department memo recommends a settlement “based on a review of the legal and factual issues specific to this particular claim.”

The case is Reyna Garcia Romero v. Mr. Cooper, et al., 24C13005025.

In the second case, the city has agreed to pay $70,000 to a man who was pinned between his vehicle and a city bulldozer.

Edward Eugene Rush II was in a dumping area at the Quarantine Road Landfill in March 2012 when the bulldozer struck his vehicle, pinning his right leg between the two, according to a separate Law Department memo prepared for the settlement. Rush’s injury led to $24,000 in medical bills, according to the memo.

Rush filed a claim against the city, not a lawsuit, but lawyers for the city agreed to the settlement “in order to resolve this claim economically and to avoid the expense, time and uncertainties of protracted litigation,” according to the memo.