[ UPDATE May 2012: Final awards in Jose Rincon’s civil lawsuit after a trip to appellate court; azstarnet.com (though their links seem to regularly go dead). Note that the original award of $13 was the LARGEST judgement ever against the city:
…Chuy’s settled before the February 2010 civil trial for an undisclosed sum. During the trial, jurors were told that a city engineer had abandoned plans to add five feet of asphalt to the roadway during an improvement project, creating a large offset in the lanes on either side of Vozack Lane, just east of Harrison. As a result, Rumsey ended up in the bike lane when her lane ended and she tried to merge.
The jury decided Rumsey, the city of Tucson and Chuy’s were equally responsible and awarded $40 million to the Rincon family. The city’s $13 million share was the largest individual judgment ever against the city. The city appealed, and Pima County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Lee denied the motion for a new trial but granted the defendants’ request for a reduced judgment, slashing the judgment to $12 million.
The city then went to the Arizona Court of Appeals, and it decided in March 2011 that the case should be retried. The Rincons settled with both Rumsey and the city recently.
The settlement with Rumsey is confidential; the settlement with the city specifically states the city was making “no admission of liability, culpability or fault, either by expression or implication.” …. Back when Lee reduced the $40 million judgment, Rincon said he and his wife had agreed to settle the lawsuit for $950,000 before trial, but the city refused. He bemoaned the fact that because the public didn’t know the city hadn’t accepted the settlement offer, residents were under the impression he and his wife were “money-grubbers.”…
The city’s appeal is online at justia.com RINCON v. RUMSEY, CITY OF TUCSON, contains some interesting stuff. (it should also be online via court-of-appeals div 2 website, but i haven’t looked for it there). Note that the superior-court appeal upheld the trial judge; while the court of appeals found the trial court judge (and thus the superior court appeals judge) erred.
Conviction on the higher charge was probably due to her being extremely extreme DUI (.249 two hours AFTER the collision).
The defense’s case seemed mainly about claiming that road defects caused the collision. This obviously didn’t pan out for them. The defense also didn’t get anywhere by mentioning the cyclists (there were two hit) had no headlights. Well, they were hit from behind — one who actually cares about the law is left to wonder if the victims met requirements for REAR facing visibility… i.e. a reflector. Apparently she was driving in the dirt, along the road, after missing the merge — which is where she struck the cyclists.
There was some other controversy surround Ms Rumsey, something about her being out (and driving, of course) but she was caught with alcohol in her system (the deal was she was supposed to not drink ANY).
So anyways, sentencing is Jan 20… should be interesting. manslaughter, plus some sort of assault, (leaving the scene — where did that charge go?). Judges tend to make the sentences run concurrently so as to get offenders back on the street as soon as possible.
many more Rincon / Rumsey articles do a search of tucsonbikelawyer.com