$1,775,000.00 SETTLEMENT Cable Car Collision

$1,775,000.00 SETTLEMENT Cable Car Collision. On October 8, 2004, five women visiting San Francisco from Illinois, boarded a San Francisco Cable Car to experience one of the most well-known San Francisco attractions. As the cable car sped down the Washington Street hill, passengers exclaimed that they were going so fast it was like a roller coaster ride. Unfortunately, the cable car operators failed to slow the car and as it approached the intersection with Mason Street, suddenly and without warning, the cable car came to a violent stop with so much force that the plaintiffs each described feeling like they had hit a brick wall. The cable car operators had used the emergency brake to stop the car, which the Cable Car Manual allows for only in extreme situations. Each of the five plaintiffs sustained severe, life-altering injuries. Throughout the four years of litigation with the City and County of San Francisco, which involved the review of several thousands of pages of internal City documents, and the completion by plaintiffs’ counsel of approximately 20 depositions, the City contended that the operators were not negligent in applying the emergency brake. Plaintiffs asserted that the operators had failed to follow the City’s protocol for descending downhill and traveled too fast for the rudimentary braking system in place on the cars. Plaintiffs further contended that the City had failed to properly maintain the primary braking mechanism–planks of wood–such that at the time of the incident the cable car had faulty brakes.