City officials postponed this week a closed-door discussion by City Council about a roughly $91,800 lawsuit the city filed against a man who crashed a single-engine plane into a Glendale neighborhood two years ago, and a new meeting date is yet to be set.
Glendale sued the pilot, James Roth, in January for property damage to a tree and power line he downed during the crash as well as the cost of fire and police response to the incident, according to court records.
Roth attempted to make an emergency landing around 9:10 p.m. on May 21, 2012, after he experienced a severe engine surge during his flight from Phoenix, Ariz. to Van Nuys, Calif., according to a preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency that investigates transportation accidents.
The Thousand Oaks resident tried to land the Cessna plane on a quiet Glendale street, but he did not see a power pole on the northwest corner of Cleveland and Glenwood roads until it was too late, according to the report. He hit the pole, an oak tree and a vehicle, finally landing upside down in the front yard of a nearby home.
The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to release a final report detailing the cause of the accident.
Roth denied that he was responsible for the damages and public safety costs, according to court documents filed in April. When reached by phone on Thursday, he declined to comment about the legal proceedings.
City officials waited more than a year and a half to file the lawsuit as they attempted to recoup damages from Roth's insurance company, and then the 57-year-old himself when his insurance agent would not pay due to a technical issue with his coverage, Chief Assistant City Atty. Ann Maurer said.
The city had up to two years to file the lawsuit, she said.
Maurer said city officials will be asking for council's direction on matters related to the case when they reschedule the closed-session meeting. The council often discusses legal, personnel and similar issues with city staff behind closed doors.
A trial is currently scheduled for July 2015.
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