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Durham settles negligence suit for $2 million

10 Apr 2013

By Jim Wise — Staff writer for the Raleigh News & Observer
The city of Durham will pay $2 million to settle a negligence suit brought by a pedestrian struck and injured by a city truck on Dec. 30, 2011.
Attorneys for Reyes Abreo Gonzalez announced the settlement Wednesday afternoon after a hearing before Chief Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson.
“This resolves the issues,” said Michael Kornbluth, partner in the Taibi Kornbluth firm that represented Gonzales.
Senior Assistant City Attorney Kimberly M. Rehberg said the city does not plan to make any statement on the settlement.
“The City does not generally comment on liability claims and filed litigation unless city council or the (city) manager determines that there is an overwhelming interest on the part of Durham citizens for such a statement,” she said.
Gonzalez, now 61, suffered brain damage, leg fractures and internal injuries when hit by a Water Department truck as he was crossing Cornwallis Road at its Chapel Hill Road intersection. He spent several days in a coma and remained under treatment at Duke Medical Center until late January, and is still undergoing rehabilitation.
No charges were filed in the case, Kornbluth said.
Rehberg said the city is self-insured for the first $1 million, but its liability insurer covers any amount above that. The city’s portion will come out of money reserved in the budget for “operational risk management,” she said.