• Judge finds for Pacific Grove in wrongful death suit

    All civil claims against the City of Pacific Grove were effectively dismissed when Monterey County Superior Court Judge Kay Kingsley granted the City of Pacific Grove’s motion for summary judgment in the case of Woods vs. the City of Pacific Grove. The family of Joel Daniel Woods filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Pacific Grove arising from his death on September 2, 2008.

    Joel Woods, 35, was killed in front of the Pacific Grove Middle School when he was struck by a driver who was under the influence of prescription drugs. He was picking up his son, a student at the Middle School, and had parked in a loading zone on Forest Ave. when Deborah King, 55 of Monterey, hit him. He was thrown 30 feet and died at the scene.

    The Woods family contended that the passenger zone constituted a dangerous condition of public property. “While we sympathize strongly with the Woods Family for the loss of Joel Woods,” states Jon Giffen, partner at Kennedy, Archer & Harray “under the circumstances, the Judge effectively found that the accident was not caused by the City’s decision to allow parking in front of the middle school but by a driver who was heavily under the influence of prescription drugs.”

    After reviewing all the documents and hearing oral argument, Judge Kingsley specifically ruled that the loading zone was not a dangerous condition of public property and awarded summary judgment. The trial had been originally scheduled for September 10.

    In February of 2011, Deborah King was found guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter in the criminal prosecution for the death of Joel Woods. King tested positive for an extensive list of drugs in her system including marijuana, morphine, Vicodin, Xanax, Ambian, Trazadone, Wellbutrin, and other antidepressants. King was sentenced to 15 years to life in the criminal case.

    The case continues against the Pacific Grove Unified School District, which has filed a similar motion to be heard on August 3, 2012. The Pacific Grove Unified School District is represented by separate counsel from San Jose.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on June 29, 2012

    Topics: Front PG News

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