One year ago, 63 year old Jean Marie Arbelbide died at a parking lot for the San Francisco International Airport by drowning. Tuesday, his family filed a lawsuit against South San Francisco in the San Mateo County Superior Court.
On March 29th 2012, Arbelbide traveled to the parking lot to perform maintenance. When he didn't come home, his family called the police and reported him missing. His car was found at the lot, and his body two days later.
Arbelbide, a self-employed gardener from San Bruno, was spraying weed-killer in the parking lot when some rotten plywood gave out beneath him. What he fell into was revealed to be a nine foot deep pit filled with stagnant water. This hole was referred to as "leftover infrastructure," originally used to block water flow to nearby docks, which would allow boat owners to maintain and work on their vessels.
The site located on North Access Road, just north of the airport, played a major role in the death of Arbelbide. The family claimed in their suit that South San Francisco, the owner of that particular property, and the group that runs the parking lot, failed to warn of or protect the public from possible hazards. If there had been warnings present, they state that Arbelbide would not have drowned in a nine foot pit without any help to be had.
South San Francisco City Attorney Steve Mattas said that Arbelbide's death was an unfortunate and horrible accident, but the city was in no way responsible. He stated that the tenants are liable, under the terms of lease, for the maintenance of the property. Thus far, attempts to reach Robert E. Simms, the owner of the lot, have proven unsuccessful.
The coroner's report confirmed that he had drowned, and that the 30-40 pounds worth of weed-spraying equipment on his body likely attributed to his death. This equipment was found on his body when he was discovered.
Arbelbide was originally from France's Basque country, and lived in San Mateo County for more than 40 years. His body was returned to France for burial, according to his obituary.
At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley, we represent clients who have lost loved ones due to others negligence. With nearly 50 years of litigation and trial experience, we are not afraid to take anyone to trial that has wrongfully caused the death of your loved one, spouse, child, or family member. While most cases involving wrongful death settle out of court, when bringing a wrongful death suit to court, we work closely with our clients to present a full picture of the loss that surviving family members have suffered. We work to make sure you and your loved ones are receive the Fair Compensation that you are entitled too. That compensation will include present and future wages, medical expenses, and funeral costs, but it will also include loss of love, guidance and companionship, moral support, and financial support.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another, you may be eligible to seek a remedy and payment. Protect your rights, contact an experienced trial lawyer. When you call the law offices of O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley, you will be talking with an attorney who has spoken with hundreds of people in your similar circumstance. You will be treated with the respect and sympathy you need during your time of heartbreak and anguish.