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Sudden bus stop propelled adult to console, injured leg
Cook County Circuit Court
leg-fracture (fracture, femur); other-physical therapy; other-pins/rods/screws; surgeries/treatment-open reduction; surgeries/treatment-internal fixation
Motor Vehicle - Bus, Passenger; Government - Municipalities; Slips, Trips & Falls - Falldown
Mary Ellen Murray v. Chicago Transit Authority, Annette Reed and John Doe, No. 14-L-472
October 21, 2016
Mary Ellen Murray (Female, 67 Years)
Bruno R. Marasso; Romanucci & Blandin, LLC; Chicago, IL, for Mary Ellen Murray
Chicago Transit Authority
Mara Warman; Chicago Transit Authority Law Department; Chicago, IL, for Annette Reed, Chicago Transit Authority
On Oct. 25, 2013, plaintiff Mary Ellen Murray, 67, retired, was a passenger on a transit bus that was traveling on the southbound side of North Michigan Avenue, toward its intersection with East Oak Street in Chicago. As she was walking down the center aisle of the bus to sit in an empty seat, she claimed that the bus stopped without warning, causing her to fall forward and strike a console in front of the front window of the bus. Murray claimed to sustain an injury to a leg. Murray sued the bus driver, Annette Reed, and the operator, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Murray alleged that Reed was negligent in the operation of the transit bus and alleged that the transit authority was vicariously liable for her actions, as Reed was working in her capacity as an employee of the CTA. Plaintiff's counsel alleged that Reed failed to wait until Murray, who is a senior citizen, was seated, and that her operation of the bus while the senior passenger was standing violated at least six CTA safety policies and procedures. Defense counsel argued that Reed stopped the bus in order to avoid an accident with a vehicle that was merging into the southbound lane in which the bus was traveling. Further, the defense argued that violations of the transit authority's internal policies did not carry the same weight as an offense/violation of a government-imposed order or law.
Murray sustained a fracture of her right leg's femur. After the accident, Murray was placed in an ambulance and was transported to the emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She underwent X-rays of her right leg and was diagnosed with a fractured femur. Murray was admitted to the hospital for an emergency surgical procedure. On the night of the accident, Murray underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery which addressed the fracture of her right thigh. The procedure involved the implantation of metal rods and hardware to stabilize the fracture site. Several days later, Murray was discharged from the hospital and was admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility. During the course of her two months of inpatient care, Murray underwent daily physical therapy and received other conservative treatments to resolve residual challenges that she faced with walking and balance. As a result of the accident, Murray claimed that her gait is impaired and that she experienced difficulty maintaining her balance. Defense counsel argued that Murray's injury was not permanent. The defense alleged that the second month of the plaintiff's course of inpatient treatment at the skilled nursing and rehab facility was unrelated to the accident and was the result of complications that had arisen from another condition.
The Chicago Transit Authority tendered $150,000 to settle the case.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.