Brewer v. City of Modesto (2004) (Stanislaus Superior Court)
Plaintiff, age 5, suffered serious head injuries when his grandfather made a left turn on a yellow light and their vehicle was broadsided by a Ford Bronco. The grandfather believed he had sufficient gap time to make the left turn when in reality he did not. The driver of the Bronco testified that he did not see the Plaintiff's car until it was too late. The lawsuit was brought against the City of Modesto for installing a Protected/Permissive Left Turn signal which required motorists to make judgment calls as to the amount of gap time they have to make and clear a wide left turn. Counsel argued that it was negligent of the City to put motorists in the difficult position to judge whether they have sufficient clearance time. Counsel showed that the City knew of the design problem and could have remedied the design problem before the accident and indeed, remedied the design problem after the accident, but far too late a case of city bureaucracy delaying important traffic safety measures far too long.