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Farmers Market Crash Gets New Date in Court

By Lookout Staff

March 27 -- Victims of Santa Monica's 2003 farmer's market crash and their families will have to wait until October to have their day in civil court.

Judge William A. MacLaughlin moved the court date from May 17 to October 9 and consolidated the cases brought by 18 victims and their families against the Bayside District Corporation, which runs the Downtown.

Plaintiffs charge that the Bayside failed in their duty to protect the public at the farmers market when 89-year-old George Russel Weller plowed through the crowd, leaving ten dead and 60 injured.

In addition to consolidating the cases, MacLaughlin said he would rule on whether the testimony could be used by Weller, according to Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, the law firm that represents the plaintiffs seeking damages.

“The Plaintiffs had previously asked the prosecutor in the criminal matter to grant Mr. Weller ‘use immunity,’ so that he could be deposed in the civil litigation, and that request was denied,” said Kathy Pinckert, the firm’s spokesperson.

Last November, a criminal court jury convicted Weller of 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter. Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson sentenced him to probation, because of his failing health.

Weller is appealing his conviction.

Plaintiffs represented by Greene Broillet & Wheeler filed civil suits against City of Santa Monica, Bayside District Corporation and Weller, but a judge threw out the case against the City in 2006.





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