Donald Barrett, 40, was walking on a city street when he entered an intersection at a marked crosswalk. As he was several steps into the intersection, the driver of a bus operated by the Los Angeles County Metro Transit Authority (Metro) began turning right onto the intersecting street. The bus struck and killed Barrett, dragging his body for several blocks before a eyewitness alerted the driver. He is survived by his father.
Barrett’s father, individually and on behalf of his estate, sued the bus driver, alleging failure to keep a proper lookout and yield to pedestrian traffic. The plaintiffs also claimed that the driver had violated company policies regarding the safe operation of the bus. Suit alleged that the driver began turning just before the light changed to green.
Suit against Metro alleged that it was liable for the driver’s negligence.
The plaintiffs did not claim lost earnings.
The defendants argued that the driver made all efforts to account for pedestrian traffic. They also argued that Barrett had entered the crosswalk without a walk signal and had failed to account for the moving bus making a right-hand maneuver when he stepped off the curb. Finally, the defendants argued that substantial damages were not warranted because Barrett and his father were estranged at the time of the incident.
The parties settled for just under $1.43 million, paid by Metro.
Citation: Barrett v. Los Angeles Co. Metro. Transp. Auth., No. SC107496 (Cal., Los Angeles Co. Super. June 2, 2011).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Adam K. Shea and Rahul Ravipudi, both of Los Angeles.