Sparks City Council Meeting 5/13/2013 1:00:00 PM

    Monday, May 13, 2013 1:00 PM
    City Council Chambers, Legislative Building, 745 Fourth St, Sparks, NV

General Business: 6.5

Title: Consideration and possible approval of a medical claim against the city from Maria A. Huerta in the amount of $50,000.00.
Petitioner/Presenter: Shaun D. Carey, City Manager/Stephen W. Driscoll, Assistant City Manager
Recommendation: The Council to approve the payment of $50,000.00 to settle a medical claim against the city by Maria A. Huerta
Financial Impact: $50,000.00 paid from the city's Risk Management Fund
Total Costs: $50,000.00
Fund: Municipal Self-Insurance    Account: 603260
Program: Admin/Premium (Non Claim) Transactions in Muni Ins Fund (050515)
Amount: $50,000.00    Budget Status: Budget Exists
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief: The city received a medical claim from Mrs. Maria A. Huerta on November 25, 2012 for a trip-and-fall accident, which occurred on January 2, 2012. The claimant suffered medical injury and is still recovering. A claim for $50,000.00 to reimburse for incurred medical costs has been tentatively settled between the city and the claimant, subject to the approval of the Council.

Background: On November 26, 2012, the city received a claim “... for pain, suffering, and handicap upgrades.” The city’s Risk Management Committee reviewed the claim at December 13, 2012 monthly meeting. The city requested Tom Mannos, Mannos & Associates Adjusters, Inc., to investigate the Huerta claim and to report his findings to the city. Mr. Mannos filed an extensive written report to the city on December 28, 2012, which reviewed by the Risk Management Committee at their monthly meeting on January 8, 2013. (See Attachment 1) Mr. Mannos’ report included the results of interview with Mrs. Huerta and several members of her family whom have been providing care during the recovery period since the January 2012 accident. The report, also, included photographs, satellite mapping, and sketches of the accident scene. Mr. Mannos included copies of emails received between the family and the city related to the issues with the parking lot at issue. In Mr. Mannos’ interviews with the claimant and her family members, he witnessed the current medical condition and adaptations made to the home of the claimant to accommodate her ambulatory condition. He noted in his report the various members of the family have been taking turns to provide in-home care for Mrs. Huerta who prior to the accident lived alone and was very mobile including the purchase of a new car.

Analysis: The claim against the city was fully investigated by a qualified insurance adjuster the city retains for the specific purpose being reported. Mr. Mannos provided a thorough investigation and written report of the accident and all the relevant facts related to the claim by Mrs. Huerta. Mr. Mannos lead a discussion of the facts and potential legal issues for the Risk Management Committee to assess and discuss. The Risk Management Committee members consist of the city’s Assistant City Manager, Risk Manager, and City Attorney as voting members as established under City Bill No. 2243 / Ordinance No. 2081: “AN ORDINANCE ADDING A TO TITLE 2 CHAPTER 27 CONCERNING DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY BY GIVING THE CITY MANAGER ABILITY TO SETTLE CLAIMS AGAINST THE CITY UP TO $25,000; AUTHORIZING THE CITY AMANGER TO DLELGATE UP TO $1,500 OF THIS AUTHORITY TO THE RISK MANAGER; FURTHER AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO APPOINT A RISK MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE; REPEALING THE CITY ATTORNEY’S AUTHORITY TO SETTLE CERTAIN CLAINS; REPEALING RESOLUTION 2143 PASSED BY THE CITY COUNCIL ON OCTOBER 14, 1991; AND PROVIDING OTHER MATTER PROPERLY RELATED THERETO.” (See Attachment 2) During discussions with the members of the city’s Risk Management Committee, Mr. Mannos and outside counsel Stan Brown who assists the city in matters like this claim the details and possible legal outcomes were thoroughly examined. The Committee found several potential weaknesses in defending the city against this claim and felt a reasonable settlement offer should be considered.

Alternatives: 1. The Council could choose to accept the proposed settle of $50,000.00 in medical costs as outlined by staff. 2. The Council could choose to deny the proposed settlement of the medical claim filed by Mrs. Huerta, which may end in litigation by the claimant against the city. If the claimant were to be successful, the city could be liable for medical and rehabilitation costs well in excess of the proposed $50,000.00.

Recommended Motion: “I move to settle the medical cost claim from Maria A. Huerta in the amount of $50,000.00 and instruct the City Attorney’s Office to secure all appropriate legal releases bringing closure to this claim against the city.”

Attached Files:
     20130429 Huerta Claim and Mannos Report.pdf
     20130429 Risk Mgmt Ordinance.pdf
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