MOOMAT AHIKO WAY — City Hall awarded $85,000 to a woman injured when a utility hole cover collapsed underneath her while walking on a public sidewalk here.

On July 5, 2009, Meredith Trachtman was walking along Moomat Ahiko Way behind The Lobster Restaurant at approximately 8:30 p.m.

She stepped on a utility cover, owned by Southern California Edison. The cover collapsed underneath her, and Trachtman fell three feet into a vault, injuring her knee and causing serious scrapes to her thigh and underneath her arm.

According to Deputy City Attorney Lance Gams, Trachtman’s injuries were severe enough to need surgery for the knee, as well as plastic surgery to restore her leg, which was left with an indentation where doctors had to drain liquid from her thigh.

She also planned to get the scar left under her arm masked using plastic surgery.

“There was also a component of pain and suffering, and the scars that she has been left with, and may still be left with, that are embarrassing,” Gams said.

Trachtman, represented by the law office of Wayne McClean in Calabasas, Calif., sued for $1.2 million, according to attorney Christopher Roberts.

The suit named four parties — Southern California Edison, the City of Santa Monica, The Lobster Restaurant and Safety Park, the valet company that operated outside the restaurant.

The matter went to court-ordered mediation, and the parties settled for $250,000.

The sum covered $40,000 in medical expenses, $35,000 in plastic surgery and $28,000 in lost earnings, Gams said. The remaining $147,000 paid for pain, suffering and other costs.

Southern California Edison paid $150,000, the lion’s share of the settlement, because the company owned the faulty cover, Gams said.

City Hall doled out $85,000, and the restaurant and valet pitched in $15,000.

ashley@www.smdp.com

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