Scottsdale is close to paying over $100,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by man who was allegedly rear-ended by a city police officer in 2018.
On April 6, City Council will consider approving the $135,000 settlement with Dana Joe McDonald, who sued in 2019 after he was involved in a vehicle collision with Officer Dustin Hawkinson.
McDonald initially sought $2 million, according to a notice of claim he filed with the city.
According to the lawsuit, McDonald was driving east on Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. in northern Scottsdale on Sept. 12, 2018 when the incident occurred.
McDonald was preparing to make a right-hand turn on to the Loop 101 freeway when Hawkinson allegedly rear-ended the car while McDonald waited for traffic to clear.
“Plaintiff stopped in order to clear the oncoming traffic when he was rear-ended by (Officer Hawkinson), who failed to notice that (McDonald) had stopped in order to insure he had a clear lane of travel,” according to the lawsuit.
Hawkinson was driving a police vehicle at the time of the incident.
In addition to damage to his vehicle, McDonald suffered injuries requiring medical care as a result of the collision along with disability, emotional stress, anxiety and a loss of earnings, according to the lawsuit.
McDonald’s medical bills totaled approximately $105,000 and he projected future medical bills would cost approximately $125,000, according to a report prepared by city staff.
In court filings, a lawyer with the Scottsdale City Attorney’s Office admitted that a collision occurred but denied Hawkinson was at fault or that the city was liable for damages.
Neither Hawkinson nor the city will admit liability as part of the settlement.
The $135,000 settlement will likely be covered by the city’s primary property tax.
According to city documents, Scottsdale has a long-standing practice of using the property tax to offset the costs of tort claim settlement payments greater than $20,000.
Last year, the $1.8 million in settlements paid by the city accounted for approximately five percent of the city’s total primary property tax levy.