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GULIZIA v. U.S.

October 6, 2005.

ANTHONY GULIZIA, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PATRICIA TRUMBULL, Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

INTRODUCTION

This matter was tried before the court for a period of two days commencing on August 15, 2005. Plaintiff Anthony Gulizia has brought an action against the United States pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b), for damages incurred as the result of an April 5, 2000 accident in which a United States Postal Service employee, while driving a postal service vehicle, collided with a bicycle ridden by plaintiff. Mr. Gulizia was represented by his counsel, Franklin Bondonno, and the United States (hereafter the "government") was represented by its counsel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Claire Cormier.

  Having considered all of the evidence introduced at trial and the arguments made by counsel, the court now issues its findings of fact and conclusions of law.*fn1, *fn2

  FINDINGS OF FACT

  A. The Accident:

  1. On April 5, 2000, at approximately 2:00 p.m., in the City of San Jose, California, plaintiff, Anthony Gulizia, was riding his bicycle on the left side of Race Street in violation of the California Vehicle Code, approaching Luther Avenue.

  2. At approximately the same time, Dick Liu, who at the time was a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service acting in the scope of his employment, was driving a postal vehicle on Luther Avenue, approaching Race Street.

  3. There is a stop sign on the corner of Luther Avenue and Race Street, located approximately 10 to 12 feet back from the prolongation of the Race Street curb, directed to drivers on Luther Avenue approaching Race Street.

  4. According to the plaintiff's accident reconstruction expert, Dr. Rajeev Kelkar, Mr. Gulizia and Mr. Liu collided at a right arc length of approximately 30 feet from the limit line of the stop sign, approximately five paces west and four paces north of the stop sign limit line located on Luther Avenue.

  5. Mr. Gulizia hit the left front rear-facing mirror on the postal vehicle, scraping and bruising his left torso near the area of his heart.

  6. The force of the impact caused Mr. Gulizia to fall from his bicycle and caused the mirror glass to shatter and fall onto Mr. Gulizia's chest as he lay on the ground.

  7. There is disputed testimony regarding whether or not Mr. Liu made a full and complete stop at the stop sign before making his right turn onto Race Street and colliding with Mr. Gulizia. 8. Mr. Gulizia testified that Mr. Liu did not stop at the stop sign. He stated that he saw Mr. Liu approaching the stop sign and that he presumed Mr. Liu would stop, but that he did not stop.

  9. Mr. Liu testified that he came to a complete stop and looked both ways at least twice before making his turn. He testified that this intersection was part of the regular route that he had driven for several years before the accident, and that he always fully stopped at this stop sign. Because of the buildings on the corners, he would then have to creep forward ...


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