LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A judge ruled that relatives of a young singer-songwriter killed in 2018 after her car was struck by another vehicle in the San Fernando Valley can take their lawsuit to trial against the City of Los Angeles, which alleges wrongful death and dangerous condition of a public property that made it hard to see an oncoming car.
On Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel M. Crowley rejected arguments by lawyers from the City Attorney’s Office that the city was immune from liability in the case brought in August 2019 by family members of the late Nora Rose-Hines. The 19-year-old was trying to turn left from eastbound Strathern Street onto northbound Balboa Boulevard on Nov. 28, 2018, when her car was hit on the driver’s side by the other vehicle, according to the lawsuit.
In less than a 12-month period in 2015-16, there were four left-turn collisions at the same intersection, an 832% increase in the average number of collisions per year compared to the previous eight years, the judge wrote.
Drivers are now restricted at the intersection to taking only right turns onto southbound Balboa.
Joseph Finnerty, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said that the restriction came after the Rose-Hines’ accident, but could not confirm if it was due to that specific incident. He said that the city should’ve been aware of the hazard the intersection posed.
“We’re alleging that there was a pattern of left turn collisions that should have put the city on notice of the dangerous nature of this intersection and the city did nothing to act,” Finnerty said.
The lawsuit also originally named as defendants the state of California and Tiana Brown, who was allegedly driving the other vehicle that ran into Rose-Hines’ car. However, the plaintiffs settled with Brown for $15,000 and dropped the state as a party.
Balboa curved toward the northwestern direction a few hundred feet north of the intersection, limiting visibility from the beginning of the curve until the end, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ court papers, which also state that the Rose-Hines’ view of southbound cars was additionally compromised by a concrete wall, trees, overgrown shrubbery and a telephone pole.
Rose-Hines was a singer-songwriter who could play both the piano and the guitar, according to an obituary posted in Legacy.com. She often performed at the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood, where she created the role of Eve Christmas in the holiday musical, “Yo Ho Ho: A Pirate’s Christmas,” according to the posting.
Rose-Hines performed for a year in Debbie Allen’s RISE theater program, according to the posting. She taught music and dance to Guatemalan children the two summers before her death and planned to return to that country again this year, the posting stated.
Trial of the lawsuit is scheduled for Jan. 13.