Charles Parkin
Long Beach
City Attorney

411 West Ocean Blvd., 9th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802-4664
Karl Kuhn vs. City of Long Beach
Monte H. Machit
Assistant City Attorney

Ted Zinger
Deputy City Attorney

Today, Long Beach City Attorney, Charles Parkin, announced that on February 1, 2017, a Long Beach Superior Court Judge entered judgment in favor of the City of Long Beach in a case involving allegations that a dangerous condition of a public street caused a motor vehicle accident that resulted in serious bodily injury to the operator of a motorcycle.

On the evening of September 26, 2013, Karl Kuhn was driving a motorcycle westbound on Spring Street in the City of Long Beach. As he approached San Anseline Avenue, Michael Schaffel, driving sport utility vehicle, turned directly in front of Kuhn. To avoid Schaffel, Kuhn was forced to lay his motorcycle down and, in the process, sustained serious injuries, including paraplegia. 

Kuhn sued Schaffel and the City of Long Beach. Kuhn’s attorneys contended that the accident was caused because a “No-U Turn” sign posted on a median along Spring Street had blocked Schaffel’s view of Kuhn’s motorcycle. 

The City argued that the “No-U Turn” sign was not in a dangerous location, and that the sign would have only momentarily obscured Schaffel’s vision. The City maintained that a driver who stopped at the limit line and used reasonable care would have had ample opportunity to see the approaching motorcycle, especially since the motorcycle had illuminated headlights.

The City made a pretrial summary judgment motion asking the Court to order judgment in the City’s favor. The City argued that the placement of the “No U-Turn” sign was a part of the planned design for the intersection, was approved by a licensed City traffic engineer, and that the design of the intersection and placement of the traffic control sign were reasonable in every respect. The Superior Court Judge agreed. By granting the pretrial summary judgment motion, the City was spared the cost associated with a full trial.

 The case was handled by the Long Beach City Attorney’s Office and Theodore B. Zinger, Deputy City Attorney.