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Carlos Garcia v. The City of Kansas City, Missouri

Type of Action:Personal Injury – Broken Water Meter Cover

Name of Case:Carlos Garcia v. The City of Kansas City, Missouri

Court:Jackson County, Missouri

Case No.:0816-CV09388

Name of Judge:The Honorable Judge Ann Mesle

Special Damages:$45,692.30

Settlement Amount:$160,000.00

Date of SettlementSeptember 2008

Plaintiffs’ Experts:None

Defendant’s Experts:None

Attorneys for Plaintiffs:Scott Shachtman and Sylvester James, Jr. with the Sly James Firm

Attorneys for Defendants:Chad Stewart with the City Attorney’s Office

Description of the case:On June 2, 2007, Mr. Garcia, who was homeless at the time, pushed his lawn mower through a residential area in Kansas City, Missouri looking for work. At around 5:00 p.m. or so that day, Mr. Garcia went to the front door of a home located at 1512 Chelsea Avenue. The owner of the home opened the door and told Mr. Garcia that he did not need his grass cut that day. Mr. Garcia thanked him for his time and proceeded to walk through the yard to the street.

As Mr. Garcia was walking through the yard, he stepped onto a broken water meter cover that flipped open, causing Mr. Garcia to fall and straddle the lid. Mr. Garcia’s groin and penis violently struck the water meter lid and he immediately felt extreme pain in his groin and penis. Since the homeowner saw Mr. Garcia injure himself, he offered Mr. Garcia the use of his garden hose to spray himself off. While Mr. Garcia was waiting for MAST Ambulance to arrive, his penis was bleeding and he was in extreme pain.

The MAST Ambulance Emergency Medical Technicians found that Mr. Garcia had a laceration to the posterior aspect of the head of this penis, directly below the urethral opening. Mr. Garcia was rushed to the emergency room at St. Luke’s Medical Center on the Plaza and was admitted to the hospital for four days where he was diagnosed with and treated for a urethral fracture.

Initially Mr. Garcia was treated with a super pubic cystotomy tube placement (i.e. catheterization). Mr. Garcia remained catheterized for nearly six months and was in and out of the hospital during that time period due to severe pain, bleeding and concern for his general well being. As a direct and proximate result of this incident, Mr. Garcia suffered permanent and debilitating injuries to his penis and urethra, which required and will continue to require medical treatment

Mr. Garcia filed suit against the City of Kansas City, Missouri for having a dangerous and broken water meter lid on its property. Mr. Garcia claimed that the City knew or should have known of the broken lid since it routinely checked the water meter that was underneath the subject broken lid.