Raised asphalt on LA city road poses dangerous condition for roller-blader. $2M. Los Angeles County.


Shadows make it hard to see raised asphalt on city street.

The Case

  • Case Name: Lahra Welch v. City of Los Angeles
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / 22STCV06392
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, October 09, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, February 22, 2022
  • Type of Case: Dangerous Condition Public Property
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michael Levanas
  • Plaintiffs:
    Lahra Welch, 58
  • Defendants:
    City of Los Angeles
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $2,000,000
  • Net Verdict or Award: $1,660,000
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 17% on plaintiff
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Office of Maximilian Lee by Maximilian Lee, Santa Ana.

    Fielding Law, APC by Clark Fielding and Ryan Cooper, Irvine.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney by Karen Woodward, Michael Zuckerman, and Lilya Dishchyan, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Matthew Enna, M.D., orthopedics.

    Garrison Whitaker, M.D. (Treating orthopedist.)

    Jennifer Hertz, M.D. (Treating orthopedist.)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Ross Nathan, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Gary Gsell, municipal infrastructure.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Mark Blanchette, Ph.D., biomechanics.

    Henricus "Harm" Jansen, accident reconstruction.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On February 15, 2021, plaintiff tripped and fell over raised asphalt in the street while rollerblading in a residential neighborhood. She was rollerblading against the direction of traffic on a one-way street, but the street had no traffic at that time.

    Plaintiff was not wearing the corrective lenses that she is required to wear to drive, but does not need to wear other than to drive. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That she was not able to see the raised asphalt because there were no warnings and the trees overhead cast shadows on the roadway.  That the raised asphalt was a dangerous condition that the City of Los Angeles had actual knowledge of, as well as constructive knowledge had it put in place a reasonable inspection system. The raised asphalt caused plaintiff to trip and fall, and suffer a broken left wrist and permanent disabilities to her left hand.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That the raised asphalt was just "a little bump" that was not a dangerous condition. That the City of Los Angeles's inspection system was reasonable. That the City of Los Angeles lacked actual or constructive knowledge of the raised asphalt. Finally, that plaintiff was 100% negligent for the fall.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Broken left ulna and distal radius that required multiple surgeries; post-surgery osteoarthritis of the left hand; complex regional pain syndrome in the left hand.

  • Emotional distress, disfigurement, mental harm, inconvenience, anxiety, mental harm.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: Waived.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,000,000
  • Defendant Offer during Trial: Verbally offered $100,000 on the first day of trial.