The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office announced that a Los Angeles Superior Court Jury in Santa Monica ruled in favor of the City of Santa Monica in a personal injury lawsuit brought by 84-year-old Beatrice Kaufman who was injured while riding on a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus.
Kaufman alleged she was seriously injured on September 5, 2008 when she fell shortly after boarding the Big Blue Bus. The jury rejected Kaufman’s claim that the bus driver negligently failed to give Kaufman adequate time to sit down before the bus moved away from the curb.
Kaufman claimed she was rendered a partial quadriplegic as a result of the fall and would have 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.
While the accident was very unfortunate, the City vigorously defends against lawsuits where the City and its employees have done nothing wrong,” said Debra S. Kanoff, who represent the city alongside Anthony P. Serritella. Kaufman was represented at trial by attorneys Browne Greene and Geoffrey Wells of the Santa Monica plaintiff’s law firm of Greene, Broillet & Wheeler.
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. Then, while the bus was in motion, she let go of the safety bar and fell as the bus came to a stop at the next intersection.
The trial was held in Department “B” of the Superior Court in Santa Monica before Judge Norman P. Tarle who bifurcated the trial into two phases: liability for the accident and damages. Following the liability phase, the jury found in favor of the City, therefore obviating the need for the jury to consider damages.
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