Huntington Beach City Council members had a couple interesting claims against the city worth discussing in closed session this week.
One involves a woman who alleges a city police officer threw her to the ground while breaking up a fight. Her paperwork only indicates she is seeking more than $10,000 from Surf City.
We do know the desired amount of the second claim: $500,000.
That would compensate a Hemet family whose 6-year-old boy fell into a Huntington City Beach fire pit.
As Main Street bars were closing at 2 a.m. on March 26, friends who had celebrated a birthday party that had moved from Beachfront 301 to Tuna Town to Black Bull Chop House got read to take a cab home. But one member of the party, 34-year-old Marcia Moses of Huntington Beach, got into an argument with a 21-year-old woman that turned into a chick fight. You know, shoving, followed by hair pulling, followed by those lunging punches we all love so well.
A male friend of Moses wound up punching the younger woman, leading to his arrest. Huntington Beach Police say Moses then intervened, causing an officer to push her away and that she then tripped over her own high heel. But Moses' attorney claims that as she was getting up from the fight, an officer threw her back onto the ground, knocking her out cold.
Moses later awoke in an ambulance with a concussion, a broken wrist and an arrest for allegedly interfering with a police officer, although she ultimately was not charged. She and her attorney filed a claim in court Aug. 4 stating that excessive police force caused her to sustain the concussion and broken wrist as well as post-concussive syndrome, emotional distress, pain and suffering. A claim is generally the first step one takes before filing a lawsuit against a city.
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Hmmm, post-concussive syndrome . . . sounds like legaleze for "more than $10,000," doesn't it?
Seth Richardson was flying a kite with his father near Tower 11 at Huntington City Beach on April 17 when he fell backwards into a fire pit that still had smoldering embers inside. He was treated for weeks at UCI's Regional Burn Center in Orange for second- and third-degree burns on his right arm and the right side of his chest, according to his family's claim, which adds the boy still returns to doctors every other week for follow-up care.
The complaint filed Aug. 10 against the city claims Huntington Beach is liable for Seth's injuries because the fire pit was not properly maintained. The family says it has a photograph taken by a police officer that shows a side of the concrete pit crumbled away to sand level.
According to an Orange County Register report, three lawsuits involving beach fire pits have been filed against the city in recent years, while two others have been lodged against the state for incidents at Huntington State Beach.