Settlement reached in Townsend lawsuit

  • Brooke Fisher<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:46am

A $600,000 out-of-court settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed by Shoreline resident David Townsend on Dec. 9, 2002, after his 11-year-old daughter died when struck by a car in a North City crosswalk.

The settlement was reached after mediation on Feb. 7. The city of Shoreline will pay $500,000 and defendant Arthur Pedersen’s insurance will pay $100,000, said John Budlong, Townsend’s attorney.

Andrew Cooley, representing the city, said the city paid a greater amount because it has more insurance than the defendant.

“We find that most of the lawsuits are because we have the deep pockets,” Cooley said. “If Pedersen had more insurance, we would not be sued.”

Townsend said the higher amount paid by the city indicates accountability and liability.

“The whole point of the lawsuit was to hold whoever was accountable and liable for the death of my daughter,” Townsend said. “I accomplished that.”

The basis of the claim against the city, Budlong said, is that the crosswalk at the intersection of 170th NE and 15th Ave. NE is dangerous for pedestrians to cross. The claim also alleges that Pedersen was negligent by not stopping to let Tia Townsend and a friend cross the crosswalk.

“The reason why we allege that the intersection was dangerous and the city partly responsible, along with Pedersen, were a couple of things,” Budlong said. “There had been numerous other auto-pedestrian accidents before this time.”

Cooley said Townsend’s attorney initially asked for $22 million dollars, and the settlement of $500,000 is a good business decision.

“From the city’s standpoint, anytime that we can resolve a lawsuit business-wise, it is good practice for us,” Cooley said. “Anytime we can save $21.5 million, it is considered a good deal.”

The settlement ends litigation, and Townsend and Tia’s mother, Tametha Kennedy, will share the settlement. A trial had been scheduled for April 11.

Tia Townsend died after being struck by a car in a crosswalk at 170th and 15th Avenue NE. She and a friend were on their way to Ridgecrest Elementary School and decided to take a detour to get a snack at 7-Eleven. Both were struck in the marked crosswalk by a car driven by Pedersen, then 82.

Following his daughter’s death, Townsend established the Traffic Intersection Awareness Foundation (TIA). Through the organization, Townsend works to improve safety for pedestrians.

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