Last summer, two women riding together on a single scooter lost control and ran into a construction site in an alley in Downtown Boise. One rider fell into an excavation site, while the other collided with construction barriers. Last fall, the two women filed tort claims against the Ada County Highway District claiming that ACHD was responsible for their injuries, among other agencies.
On February 13, 2020, the Ada County Highway District responded with a letter to the attorney representing the two women denying all the claims against the agency. The letter addresses several legal and factual issues with the claims, among them:
The women were riding the scooter in violation of Boise City Code, as well as the scooter manufacturer’s user agreement. Boise City Code states “[n]o E-scooter shall be used to carry more than one person at a time.” In addition, the women were riding the scooter without helmets in violation of the scooter manufacturer’s requirement that the rider is to wear a helmet during operation of the scooter.
The women negligently rode the scooter jointly into an area that was clearly marked and identified as a construction zone, which had been an active construction zone since August of 2017. The alleyway had frequently been closed to all access due to the construction, and every night the excavation site was surrounded with bright orange “jersey” barriers and orange netting. The women drove the scooter directly towards the barriers at what must have been a high rate of speed in order to push through the barriers.
The tort claim alleges that ACHD did not live up to its own policy, but ACHD was not responsible for the construction work or maintenance of the construction zone. The Permittee—Parklane Management Company, and/or their sub-contractors, would held those responsibilities, and if they fail in those obligations, they have signed a permit/contract indemnifying and holding ACHD harmless from any claims resulting from the Permittee’s construction zone.
Finally, the women allege that they lost control because of the rough road, but ACHD is not responsible for maintaining the surface of the alleyway. Many downtown alleys and sidewalks consist of pavers, as was the case with the alley in question. ACHD has a license agreement with the Capital City Development Corporation for maintenance of the pavers in the downtown core, which requires CCDC to indemnify and hold ACHD harmless from any claims arising from the pavers.
In the event the claimants pursue a legal claim against ACHD for their negligent operation of the scooter, ACHD will seek the dismissal of the lawsuit. ACHD will also pursue sanctions, including a claim for attorney fees and costs against the claimants on the basis that the action was frivolous, unreasonable, and without foundation in law or fact.