Late last week, a jury ordered Contra Costa County to pay $11.7 million to the family of William Tindall, who was killed in a crash on Marsh Creek Road in August 2008. The jury found that the County had created, and had notice of, a dangerous condition of public property at the accident location while the road was being resurfaced.
Unfortunately, Mr. Tindall was not the first victim of the 2008 Marsh Creek Road resurfacing project. Just five days earlier, a woman died when she skidded off the road and into a tree. Evidence was presented that, during three separate resurfacing projects since 1994, fifteen serious accidents had occurred, including the last, the one that killed Mr. Tindall.
Mr. Tindall, a long-time East Bay resident, was on his way to a plumbing job at a local hospital when he stopped to assist a driver who had overturned his SUV after losing control on a gravel-covered curve. Only moments later, a second car struck and killed him, when its driver lost control on the same patch of road.
Luke Ellis of this firm represented the Tindalls in their lawsuit against the County and the California Highway Patrol. The jury awarded $1.5 million in economic damages, and $10.2 million to his widow and daughter (now age 13) for their loss of his love, care and companionship. Mr. Ellis commented on the verdict: “Mr. Tindall was a wonderful man, someone who stopped coming from an opposite direction to help a stranger in distress. The damages awarded were very fair and reasonable based on the extremely close relationship Mr. Tindall had with his wife and daughter, and we appreciate all the time, care and attention spent by the jury on this case.”