Antonia Reyes, 74, was crossing the street at an intersection and had just reached the curb when a New York City Transit Authority bus struck her and knocked her to the pavement. She suffered extensive damage to the muscles and ligaments surrounding her right knee and required a total knee replacement. She continues to suffer from pain and lost range of motion in the knee.
Reyes sued the New York City Transit Authority, alleging its bus driver was negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout. At trial, she testified that after the incident, the bus driver—a relief driver temporarily assigned to the route—asked her not to report it. Reyes also presented testimony from her granddaughter, who took her to the emergency room that day.
The bus driver denied that the incident occurred and argued that if it had, she would have reported it. The defense also introduced reports from surface line dispatchers—transit employees stationed at various checkpoints along the bus route—to show that the incident did not appear on any of the reports. On cross-examination, however, the dispatchers admitted that they would not have known of the incident if the driver had not reported it. Moreover, the report from the dispatcher stationed at the checkpoint that was next on the route after the accident site showed that the bus was late arriving there.
The plaintiff did not claim medical expenses or lost earnings.
The jury awarded $500,000. The trial court has denied the defendant’s motion to set aside the verdict.
Citation: Reyes v. N.Y. City Transit Auth., No. 106304/05 (N.Y., New York Co. Sup. Sept. 27, 2010).
Plaintiff counsel: Carol L. Schlitt, New York City.
Plaintiff expert: Randall Ehrlich, orthopedic surgery, Bronx, New York.
Defense experts: Ronald Mann, orthopedic surgery, Yorktown Heights, New York; and Charles Bagley, neurology, New York City.