The suit, which says former City Councilmember Sally Clark was performing official business at the time of the May 12, 2012, collision in Tacoma, alleges negligence on her part.

Share story

A lawsuit has been filed against former Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark and the city of Seattle over a 2012 accident in which her SUV collided with a bicyclist in Tacoma while she was on her way to a speaking engagement.

The suit was filed last week in Pierce County Superior Court on behalf of Steve Fairbanks, who initially filed a $2.5 million claim against the city last year in which no resolution was reached.

Clark, who served on the council for nearly a decade and was not seeking re-election, resigned this month to a take a job with the University of Washington.

Fairbanks, a Pierce County resident at the time of the collision who now lives in central Oregon, suffered a severely broken left leg that has remained permanently deformed, said his attorney, Molly Crowley, of Tacoma.

An electrician before the accident, Fairbanks “has not been gainfully employed since the day of the incident,” Crowley said.

Fairbanks, 45, suffered an open fracture with his leg at a 45-degree angle, she said.

“It was a nasty injury,” Crowley said.

Although the claim was not settled, Crowley said she hopes the city will act in “good faith” to fully compensate her client for his injuries.

The suit, which says Clark was performing official business at the time of the May 12, 2012, collision, alleges negligence on her part and seeks unspecified monetary damages for personal and economic damages.

The Seattle City Attorney’s Office, which does not comment on pending litigation, has already determined Clark was on city business, with her insurance primary and the city’s obligation secondary. But her policy only covers up to $25,000.

Clark was on her way to speak to a class held by Out in Front, a local LGBTQ leadership program.

Fairbanks was riding a bicycle about 9:15 a.m. on South Ninth Street in Tacoma, trying to get through South Market Street, when Clark’s Ford Escape turned left in his path, according to the claim and a police report.

Clark failed to yield the right of way, according to the lawsuit.

Clark, in a statement issued when the claim was filed in November, said she received and paid a citation.

She said she immediately notified her insurer and the city of the collision, describing it as an accident in which she didn’t see Fairbanks and a reminder of “how quickly something like this can happen.”

Clark also said she had not checked her insurance limits in a long time, was not proud of where they were at the time and urged people to check their coverage.

Clark has been appointed director of regional and community relations at the UW, a job that will begin in May.