Settlement near in Gallo Center injury, attorney says

kcarlson@modbee.comJuly 15, 2013 

    alternate textKen Carlson
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: County government, health and medicine, air quality, the environment and public pension systems
    Bio: Ken Carlson has worked 13 years for The Bee, covering local government agencies in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. His in-depth reporting has focused on access to health care and public employee pensions.
    Recent stories written by Ken

— Parties in a personal injury lawsuit naming the Gallo Center for the Arts have agreed to terms of a settlement, the plaintiff's attorney confirmed Monday.

Modesto attorney Charles Brunn said he agreed to settle the case with the center's insurance carrier before it went to trial. Attorneys still need to finalize the agreement, he said.

"We've had one hangup on it," said Brunn, who declined to discuss the terms. "I want to make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed."

A court date last week to consider a motion for dismissal was reset for Sept. 12.

The Brunn & Flynn law firm of Modesto filed the lawsuit in September 2011 on behalf of Mary Brunn, who was injured when she fell at the Gallo Center before an event in 2009. Brunn, 78, is married to attorney Charles Brunn.

In November, the insurance company filed a claim for more than $75,000 in damages against Stanislaus County, saying that the county was responsible for injuries to Brunn. Damage claims often are a first step in litigation against a local government agency.

County Counsel John Doering said Monday the county was not named in the lawsuit and he wasn't aware of the settlement.

The county owns the downtown Modesto center, and a lease agreement with Gallo Center for the Arts Inc. makes the nonprofit group responsible for defending against personal-injury lawsuits, Doering has said.

Gallo Center officials said they could not comment on the settlement because it was between the insurance company and the plaintiff.

The Fresno-based Cooper & Cooper law firm, representing Philadelphia Insurance Co., did not return messages from The Bee.

The lawsuit — the only one of its kind filed against the center in its six-year history — alleged that Mary Brunn was walking to her seat when she fell, suffering a broken wrist and a knee injury.

The lawsuit claimed her injuries could have been prevented if there were handrails on both sides of the stairs.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at or (209) 578-2321.

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