Verdicts and Settlements
REAL PROPERTY, Trespass - Nuisance
SETTLEMENT: $235,000 (cash)
CASE: Donald J. Morosi, as Trustee for the Separate Property of Donald J. Morosi Trust vs. State of California, Mark Preciado, et al./SCUK CVPO 0390563
COURT DATE: Mendocino Superior Court/ October 7, 2004
ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff --Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito). Defendant --Bruce A. Behrens, David Gossage, Karl H. Schmidt, David Sandler (Office of the City
Attorney, San Francisco); Landa S. Morris (California
Department of Transportation, Legal Division, San
TECHNICAL EXPERTS: Plaintiff --Raymond F. Moritz,
arborist and forester, Mill Valley. Defendant --Frank Mileham, forester/real
estate appraiser, Eureka.
FACTS: The State of California paid $235,000 as
settlement for damage to trees on 188 acres on the
plaintiff's property that had been burnt by fire in
2002. The suit alleged that the fire which destroyed
trees on the plaintiff's ranch was caused by a
CalTrans' employee's improper operation of a road
grader which caused sparks to ignite brush and fire.
The fire spread to surrounding properties, including
the plaintiff's property and burned trees.
PLAINTIFF CONTENTIONS: The plaintiff alleged damages
for negligence under Public Resource Code Section
4435; nuisance under Civil Code Section 3479 and
conversion against the State's employee and nuisance
and vicarious liability under Government Code Section
815.2 as against the State.
DEFENDANT CONTENTIONS: The defendants disputed that
the State's employee was negligent in the operation of
his equipment, or that his actions amounted to
nuisance, trespass or conversion. The State disputed
liability under all theories.
OTHER INFORMATION: The case was not settled at
mediation with Kenneth Gack of JAMS. It was later
settled at the mandatory settlement conference before
Judge Eric L. Labowitz.