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Albright case progresses, decision coming next week

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 3rd, 2006 at 7:19 pm

[Randy Albright]

The case between TriMet and Randy Albright took a step closer to resolution today. Albright, a reporter from the Oregonian, and lawyers from both sides met this morning in downtown Portland for an arbitration session.

I was subpoenaed by TriMet's lawyers for my reporting on the case but I could not attend today's arbitration and I refused to cooperate with a written affidavit or telephone statement as requested by their legal team.

Thankfully, the Oregonian was on the scene and their news blog just published more details from the hearing. Apparently some new evidence emerged:

"A witness said in a statement that the passenger told the driver "He'd take care of this," and asked to be let off. The witness heard the driver say: "Yeah, go ahead. I can't do anything but you can.""

The Oregonian also reported that the driver (the late Harold Cooper, 61) was suspended for 30 days after the incident came to light.

As I expected—based on my communications with TriMet's lawyers—their only defense in the case is to paint Albright as an angry, extremist, hell-bent on picking fights with motorists. Here's more from the Oregonian:

"TriMet attorney Lawrence Schuckman painted Albright as an angry, inconsiderate man who broke the law by blocking the bus, delaying more than 60 commuters. TriMet officials testified that the driver was following company policy when he let the agitated passenger off the bus. The driver had no way of knowing the passenger was about to commit a crime, Schuckman said."

The Oregonian also reports that Albright claims that all the media attention (at one point he turned down an interview with Good Morning America) and uproar from the lawsuit was "emotionally taxing" and that he "had trouble sleeping from all the stress."

The Oregonian says we should expect a decision by the arbitrator within a week, despite a motion by TriMet to have the case dismissed.

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Comments
  • nerf November 3, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    go get em randy

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  • SKIDmark November 4, 2006 at 12:12 am

    The driver violated Tri-Met policy or rules when he allowed the passenger off the bus. Tri-Met does not allow their passengers to enter or exit the bus anywhere but at a designated bus stop.

    The bus driver should have called the Police when the assualt occured. Instead he allowed the assaillant back on and facilitated his escape. Karma is a bitch though, ain't it?

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  • gabrielamadeus November 4, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Well I know Randy and he's not an angry hot-tempered fellow as I'm sure ya'll agree. To the contrary, he's considerate, easy going, and a willing helper. Preaching to the choir...

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  • adam November 4, 2006 at 3:36 am

    company policy sucks my carless butt.

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  • Sarah Pie November 4, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    I have a friend who drives for Trimet and according to her Trimet Drivers cannot keep anyone on the bus against their will - that would be kidnapping. She said the problem was that the Driver let the passenger back on after the assault and then didn't call for assistance - medical of otherwise.

    According to my friend, Trimet Drivers are NOT trrained. They're on a one way path to the end of their line and be damned anything that could slow 'em down.

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  • Patrick November 4, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    Will we ever really know the outcome of this case other than it was settled out of court? I thought that often when you settle you also sign something saying you won't speak about the details of the settlement.

    Interesting that they subpoenaed you. What kind of precendent does that set? Under that same logic could they subpoena people who make comments etc?

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  • tonyt November 4, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    The Oregonian blog claims that the passenger was never identified. That is not true. I remember quite clearly that they DID identify the passenger, or more specifically he IDed himself, quite conveniently after the statute of limitations for assault ran out. I remember it was in the Oregonian.

    Doesn't say much for the quality of The Oregonian's research.

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  • Cecil November 4, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    Patrick, some out-of-court settlements are indeed confidential and by their terms bind the parties to silence, but the type of arbitration going on in this case is not the same as settlement and, unless the parties do settle before the arbitrator rules, whatever the arbitrator's ruling is will eventually be reduced to a judgment filed with the court (and thereby a public record unless sealed, which is an unlikely event).

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  • SKIDmark November 4, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    So who is he?

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  • Jonathan Maus November 4, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    Patrick said:

    "Interesting that they subpoenaed you. What kind of precendent does that set? Under that same logic could they subpoena people who make comments etc?"

    They subpoenaed me because after I described Randy's actions I wrote in parentheses something like, "many people in the bike community would not be surprised that he acted this way."

    They wanted to take that statement and make it seem like we all know he's a crazy, whack-job, anarchist..which is far from the truth.

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  • tonyt November 4, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    Hey SKIDmark,

    I can't find it, you have to pay to access the Oregonians archives (when it's over 14 days old).

    But I remember the story about him very well. They mentioned his age (in his 60s I'm pretty sure) and I think he was even a boxer back in the day. Kind of a hard-scrabble sort of guy.

    Unless I've totally lost my mind, I difinitely remember that they identified the guy.

    I'll keep looking.

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  • tonyt November 4, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Found a little bit here

    http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=33674

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  • adam November 5, 2006 at 10:49 am

    yeah, let's find out who this guy is and see if he really wants to assault a cyclist. if he does, I will volunteer to play the part of the cyclist. randy is a gentle, peaceful man...I am kinda pissed off right now.

    hey anonymous coward who attacked my friend - I am right here if you want some.

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  • BURR November 5, 2006 at 3:09 pm

    TriMet's got nothing, so their only play is character assassination.

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  • BURR November 5, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    TriMet still hasn't agreed to put 'I Share the Road' bumper stickers on their busses yet, either.

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  • Gregg November 6, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    I still don't understand exactly how TriMet is responsible (morally or financially) for the actions of a rogue passenger. If it been that clear of a crime, the driver would have been arrested. Randy would have done better for ALL by calling the TriMet hotline to complain but I guess $48,000 had a better ring to it.

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  • adam November 6, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    whatever gregg.

    randy was almost killed by a bus. when he stopped the bus to educate the driver, instead of apologizing, that driver allowed some coward to go punch a man who wanted to educate.

    randy's life is worth a hell of a lot more than yours, and, a hell of a lot more than 48K.

    agree or not, I don't care.

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  • Sarah Pie November 10, 2006 at 10:00 pm

    Hey Gregg,
    Have you ever called TriMet's hotline or customer service line to complain about a Bus? They don't respond, and if you push it you get a form letter in the mail?

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  • eli December 25, 2006 at 5:14 am

    Tri-Met now has a policy that buses must remain 4 feet away from bicycles. Sarah Pie, your friend is wrong, Tri-met drivers go through a very long training, and bicycle/motorcycle road sharing is part of it. I should know. I'm a newly hired bus driver. I watch out for bicyclist, generally letting them go first at lights and intersections (as we are trained) and applaud those who make it all the way up those long hills. (smile)

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  • SKiDmark December 26, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    That may be true eli, but it doesn't change the fact that I had the choice of hopping up onto the curb or being run over by a bus - twice. Not all of the drivers are as attentive as you, and not all of them like or want to tolerate bikes.

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  • adam December 26, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    ?eli? what is the penalty for violating the 4 foot rule? thank you for looking out for us, much like many groups, most of the trimet drivers I have encountered are cool.

    some have screamed out of their window at me for passing them while they are parked in a bike lane. so, how does tri met plan to enforce this policy, exactly?

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