Records obtained by Isthmus with the kind assistance of city risk manager Eric Veum show that, between Jan. 1, 2009, and July 31, 2010, Madison paid a total of $1,079,154 in 198 payments to liability claimants.
The largest payment, for a settlement reached in February, involved Monica Everson's sexual harassment complaint against former Overture Center director Bob D'Angelo.
While the actual settlement amount (the only figure that seems to have been publicly reported) was $235,000, the claim actually cost nearly three times as much - a total of $647,036, including legal fees and costs. Veum says it's the only claim in the last 19 months for which the city's insurer, Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Co., tapped into its own reserves. That's because the city has a $300,000 deductible on claims. (The city's premiums run about $350,000 a year, roughly equal to the amount paid by WMMIC in this one case.)
Most of the 198 payments are for damages caused in auto accidents and other mishaps, like "tree limb fell and damaged railing." One claim was for "wrongful trash pickup"; another involved a police horse.
More than half the paid claims are below $2,000. After the Everson payout, the next-most-substantial sum was $195,000 to a woman who sustained a broken ankle in an accident. The city also paid $25,000 to a man who said he was passed up for a traffic engineering job due to his age, and $12,312 to a claimant alleging discrimination due to age and back injury.
For a spreadsheet itemizing the 197 claims (excluding the Everson case), see here (PDF).