A jury Wednesday awarded nearly $85,000 to the wife of former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock in a lawsuit she filed against the city after she tripped and fell on a dangerous sidewalk in Pacific Beach, causing a rupture in one of her breast implants.
After a two-day trial, jurors awarded Cynthia Hedgecock nearly $20,000 in medical costs and $65,000 for pain and suffering.
“I’m beyond pleased,” Hedgecock said. “It was my intent, in filing the case, that the city recognize the consequences and the pain of failing to respond to notice and the dangerous condition.”
Hedgecock’s attorney, Brett Schreiber, said the dangerous sidewalk could have been repaired for less than $1,000, noting that including other costs, the city of San Diego would now have to pay more than $100,000 in the case.
Hedgecock sued the city last year, claiming that the fall on July 31, 2015, caused her implant to leak beyond a normal enclosure of scar tissue and requiring her to undergo removal and replacement surgery.
Chief Deputy City Attorney Catherine Richardson told the jury that the city didn’t agree that Hedgecock’s fall resulted in a ruptured implant.
Richardson said Hedgecock had a scheduled doctor’s appointment five days after she reportedly fell but didn’t mention it to the physician. The attorney also questioned where Hedgecock fell and said the plaintiff failed to take photos of any injuries.
An MRI done weeks after the fall looked similar to an MRI done in 2012 when Hedgecock said she fell while on vacation in Hawaii, Richardson told the jury. The 2012 MRI showed ruptures of both breast implants, she said.
Medical records show the implants were due for replacement anyway because they were more than 20 years old, the attorney for the city said.
Hedgecock, 70, testified that she was walking to an appointment on Morrell Street when she caught a toe in the uneven sidewalk and fell hard on her chest, with her arms outstretched.
She didn’t tell her doctor about it five days later because at that time, she “considered it pretty minor, actually,” Hedgecock testified.
She said she brought it up during a follow-up visit after noticing changes in her breast.
Hedgecock testified that she had surgery to remove the implants and put in new ones in November 2015, saying the recovery was extensive.
“There was a lot of pain,” she said.
Hedgecock said she got her original implants because of “vanity.”
“I wanted to look a little bit better,” the mother of two testified.
Her 71-year-old husband was mayor of San Diego from 1983 to 1985, when he was forced to resign after pleading guilty to a felony conspiracy charge stemming from an illegal funding scheme involving his mayoral campaign. The conviction was later reduced to a misdemeanor.
–City News Service
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