Texting information permitted in Cliff’s Resort trial
August 2, 2014
Lawyers for the family of a woman who was struck by a vehicle and killed while crossing Shell Beach Road unsuccessfully attempted to bar defendants from showing the victims cell phone information to the jury at the trial that started Thursday.
On Nov. 19, 2011, Tracia Rittger was crossing westbound on Shell Beach Road near the Cliff’s Resort when she was struck by a car and killed.
In the area where the accident occurred, there are three parking lots on the west side of Shell Beach Road. The lots are primarily used by people headed to the beach or local restaurants. None have crosswalks.
Tricia Rittger’s husband Aaron Rittger filed the lawsuit against the city of Pismo Beach and the Cliffs Resort claiming her death could have been prevented if a crosswalk and proper signage were in place. Even though city officials said they did not believe the city was liable for the death, the city settled for $1.5 million.
During opening statements, an attorney for the Rittger family said that the hotel’s management failed to restrict the lot to employees as require by a 1984 permit. Because of that, plaintiff’s attorney said guests were forced to park across the street.
An attorney for the Cliff’s Resort said that Tricia Rittger was texting on her phone and not paying attention as she crossed the road.
Aaron Rittger is seeking reimbursement of funeral costs, loss of his wife’s income, court costs and general damages. The trial is expected to last about three weeks.