Remme v. State of Washington and City of Seattle

At the end of 2013, attorneys Keith Kessler and Brad J. Moore helped to obtain a $4,000,000 settlement for Lan Remme and his family in a lawsuit against the City of Seattle and the State of Washington. Both the State and the City were named as defendants for failure to maintain the Montlake Bridge sidewalk and abutting sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. A sidewalk panel abutting the Montlake Bridge had sunk no less than two inches.

Lan Remme was enjoying a leisurely bike ride in April 2011, until his bike wheel got caught in a 2 ” sidewalk crack obscured by the bridge’s shadow. creating a dangerous tripping hazard.

In April 2010, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) had photo-documented the 2 inch vertical change in the concrete sidewalk panels and called it a Priority One “tripping hazard”. Although a repair number was assigned to this problem, nothing was done. One year later, on April 2, 2011, Lan Remme rode his bicycle onto the Montlake Bridge sidewalk, traveling at about 5 mph. An eyewitness observed Lan’s front bike wheel stop abruptly as it got caught in the two (2) inch “tripping hazard,” causing Lan to pitch forward over the handlebars. Lan’s helmeted head struck the sidewalk and he laid there motionless. See below illustrations.

The forward momentum stopped when Lan's bike wheel got caught in the sidewalk hazard, sending him over his handlebars and slamming him head first onto the cement.

Trial was set for January 2014. At the December 2013 mediation with the City of Seattle and the State of Washinton, the settlement with the City agreeing to pay $2.5 million and the State agreeing to pay $1.5 million).

This extreme, unnecessary tragedy for Lan, his wife Laura and the rest of his family underscores the importance of our City and State exercising diligence to ensure that the routes they invite cyclists to use are reasonably safe for bicycle travel.

Lan Remme is now an incomplete quadriplegic whose life has changed forever.

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