Rigby, Petri Win Defense Verdict in Multimillion-Dollar Bus Case

Phoenix Partner Todd Rigby and Associate Shawn Petri recently won a defense verdict in a seven-day jury trial for a suit involving a bus and pedestrian accident.

Our client, a bus driver, was stopped at a layover stop on his break. These are not designated stops, but a bus driver will allow passengers to board at these locations. While our driver was on his break, the plaintiff approached from the rear and sat down at the bus bench. Our driver finished his break, checked the area, and pulled away from the bus stop within a quarter second of closing the doors. He later admitted that he never saw the plaintiff, even while she was sitting at the bus bench.

As the driver began to move away from the bus stop, the plaintiff ran toward the bus and fell down. The rear tire ran over her leg and caused a severe pneumatic tire injury and permanent debilitation. The plaintiff incurred nearly seven figures in medical specials and claimed that she would require several million more dollars for future care and lost earning capacity. In total, she sought almost eight figures from the jury.

We convinced the jury that, despite not seeing the plaintiff, the bus driver acted with reasonable care. The bus company trained its drivers to search for actual and potential hazards, and the plaintiff did not fit into either of these categories because she did not leave the bench until the doors closed and the bus started moving. Moreover, we emphasized that the bus stop served two other routes, so a bus driver would reasonably conclude that someone sitting at the bus stop was not necessarily waiting for his bus. 

The jury deliberated for four hours before returning a complete defense verdict. In addition, our transportation client will be awarded sanctions against the plaintiff based on an offer of judgment that we filed in the course of the litigation.

Paralegal Holly Esser assisted with the case.

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