The settlement, it turns out, was reached more than a year ago and didn't affect this year's budget. In April 2010, the city agreed to pay the family of former Orange Coast College tennis coach Glenn Morton $1.7 million related to a 2005 crash on Adams Avenue near Huntington Beach.
An eastbound car got into a wreck on Adams and was pushed into the westbound lanes, where it smashed head-on into Morton's van. Morton was paralyzed.
A civil court jury in 2008 found Costa Mesa liable because it didn't have any medians or islands between the east-and westbound lanes, ordering the city to pay Morton $7.2 million.
The city appealed and last year reached the $1.7 million figure. The money came out of the city's self-insurance fund, which is about $2 million. Costa Mesa's insurance company paid an additional $2 million. The other driver involved also settled with the Morton family.
The issue was mentioned at the May 31 budget study session to explain why the city sets aside $2 million annually to cover itself on top of its insurance carrier. The total also keeps the city's premiums to its carrier lower, Bobby Young, a budget and research officer said at the meeting.