Family settles suit against church over man's fatal parking lot fall

Photo credit Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The family of a disabled man who died after tripping over a concrete wheel stop in the parking lot of a church near Koreatown in 2018 has settled their lawsuit against the house of worship, attorneys told a judge today.

The resolution of the case brought against the Oriental Mission Church on Western Avenue was reported during a final status conference before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard L. Fruin, who vacated the scheduled Feb. 14 trial of the lawsuit. No terms were divulged.

The suit was brought in January 2019 by Young Sic Kim, the widow of Young Sam Oh, and their children, Choya Oh and Ji Hyun Oh, alleging wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress and civil code violations.

In their court papers, church attorneys stated that the wheel stop was painted bright blue and that Oh had other routes to take in which he could have avoided it.

"While the incident is tragic, it is not a violation of California law," the church lawyers further argued in their court papers.

According to the lawsuit, Oh was disabled and had trouble walking distances or standing for long periods of time. He and his wife went to the church, located northwest of Koreatown, for a service on Jan. 14, 2018, parked in a handicapped space and walked down a walking route designated for the benefit of disabled people.

However, when the couple returned to their car, vehicles were parked on both sides of their car and over the handicapped walking route, according to the suit, which says the church had allowed parking over the handicapped access route "in the interests of economy, convenience and/or maximizing church patronage, attendance offerings, pledges and/or donations."

Unable to find room to enter on the driver's side of his car even with the help of his wife, Oh went to the front passenger side and tried to open the door, according to the suit, which said he did not see a concrete wheel stop because it was covered by the adjacent parked car.

Oh tripped over the wheel stop, stumbled and later died from his injuries, according to the complaint, which further stated that his wife suffered emotional distress from seeing him falling and being injured.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images