Man seeks fortune from city
Michael Shawn Fulton feels South Lake Tahoe owes him, and he wants $5 million. The reason involves a dog, a trash bin and meat juice.
The 34-year-old Tahoe Verdi resident filed a claim with the city alleging that he injured his back while bathing his dog. How does this incident connect with the city? Fulton said the crux of the situation boils down to how the city is handling sanitation.
While out walking with his dog, Fulton said the dog rolled in juice that was leaking from a trash bin at the Barkley Meat Company on Industrial Avenue. The dog was not leashed at the time. Fulton believes the juice represents a biohazard to the community and the city has failed to enforce city, county, state, and federal health and safety codes.
Although the claim is steep, Fulton said the money is not important.
“I have problems with how refuse is handled,” he said Monday. “I just think the whole organization needs to be tightened up.”
An inspection of trash bins at the meat distributor’s site by the county’s environmental management found there was some leakage, but not enough to represent “an urgent health concern.” A report on the inspection stated that the trash bin would be steam cleaned at the next pick up time, and the cause of the leakage investigated.
City attorney Catherine DiCamillo, said the city has no liability in Fulton’s case and she has recommended City Council deny the claim. The matter is set for tonight’s council meeting.
“In the allegation we didn’t see any involvement by the city,” she said.
DiCamillo said the city receives about one claim a year that could be classified as frivolous.
“We get many claims that we don’t feel the city has legal liability for, but I wouldn’t classify them as frivolous,” she cautioned. “Last we year we got a threat of a claim for $250 million over something which the city had no control. I don’t remember it for the particulars of the case but for the dollar amount. That was a frivolous claim.”
DiCamillo said dealing with a claim like Fulton’s does not create any “out-of-pocket” expenses for the city, but there is the cost of staff hours to consider the claim and make a recommendation.
Fulton, who lives with his mother in a trailer park, said he hasn’t worked for two years and is receiving Social Security. He said he injured his back while working for an asbestos abatement company in Colorado.
If the city awarded him any money, Fulton said he would use it get troubled teens involved in cleaning up sections of Lake Tahoe.
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