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Duluth reaches $100,000 deal with crash victim

The Duluth city attorney's office has reached a tentative $100,000 settlement with an Esko woman who sued the city and a public works and utilities driver for injuries she received in a traffic accident.

The Duluth city attorney's office has reached a tentative $100,000 settlement with an Esko woman who sued the city and a public works and utilities driver for injuries she received in a traffic accident.

The agreement is contingent upon City Council approval at its meeting Monday.

Wendy Lewis of Esko brought the lawsuit last November after the vehicle she was driving collided with a city pickup truck driven by Daniel S. Glibbery, now retired, but who worked for the city on Sept. 5, 2003, when the accident occurred.

Glibbery was cited for failing to obey a semaphore in the accident at the intersection of Superior Street and 27th Avenue West.

Lewis alleges that she suffered severe and disabling injuries and will continue to endure future pain and suffering. She further alleges that she has incurred and will continue to incur medical expenses for the care and treatment of her injuries and has suffered emotional distress, loss of income and future loss of income "in an undeterminable sum at this time."

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According to a court document filed by Deputy City Attorney Alison Lutterman, Glibbery claims that while he was approaching the intersection he was forced to take evasive action to avoid being struck by another vehicle and doesn't know if he entered the intersection while the light was red; as a result, he claims he was not negligent.

Glibbery claims Lewis was negligent because she failed to maintain a reasonable lookout while approaching and entering the intersection. According to Lutterman's proposed statement to a jury, Glibbery also challenges the nature and extent of the injuries and losses claimed by Lewis.

City Attorney Bryan Brown said the parties settled the dispute short of trial after completing court-ordered mediation.

"What it boils down to is the liability issue about the truck going through the red light isn't in dispute; we are going to be at fault for that," Brown said. "The rest of the case consists of what damages the plaintiff can prove and what amount of money those injuries represent in the minds of six jurors. ... The proposed settlement is the outcome of the mediation process. If you believe in the process, there should be some validity to this [$100,000] number."

The payment would come from the city's self-insurance fund.

Lewis' Minneapolis attorney, Jeffrey Montpetit, didn't return a phone call seeking comment Friday.

MARK STODGHILL covers public safety and courts. He can be reached weekdays at (218) 723-5333 or by e-mail at mstodghill@duluthnews.com .

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