A Los Angeles Superior Court jury has awarded a favorable verdict to the City of Santa Monica in a lawsuit brought by an 84-year-old woman who was injured while riding on a Big Blue Bus.
The verdict, announced February 18th by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, dismisses the legal action by Beatrice Kaufman, who alleged she was seriously injured on September 5th, 2008 when she fell shortly after boarding the Big Blue Bus.
According to a city attorney spokesperson, the jury rejected Kaufman’s accusation that the bus driver negligently failed to give her adequate time to sit down before the bus moved away from the curb.
In the lawsuit, Kaufman claimed she was rendered a partial quadriplegic as a result of the fall and she sought damages for past medical bills of over $1 million, future medical expenses of more than $3 million, plus unspecified damages for pain and suffering.
Attorneys Browne Greene and Geoffrey Wells of the Santa Monica plaintiff’s law firm of Greene, Broillet & Wheeler represented Kaufman at trial.
“While the accident was very unfortunate, Santa Monica vigorously defends against lawsuits where the city and its employees have done nothing wrong,” stated Deputy City Attorney Debra Kanoff, who represented Santa Monica in court.
At trial, the city presented evidence that Kaufman had sufficient time to be seated, but instead chose to remain standing and holding onto a safety bar. While the bus was in motion, she then let go of the safety bar and fell as the bus came to a stop at the next intersection, city attorneys argued.
Following the trial’s liability phase, the jury found in favor of the city government, therefore avoiding the need for the jury to consider damages.