Gregory Zeuthen, the arbitrator brought in to decide the case between Randy Albright and TriMet has come to a decision.
He finds both parties negligent in the infamous events that transpired on January 22, 2004.
“I find both TriMet and Plaintiff were at fault for causing Plaintiff’s injuries. Mr. Cooper was negligent because he encouraged the unidentified assailant to leave the bus to confront Plaintiff. One witness overheard the assailant tell Mr. Cooper to “let me off I will take care of this…” In response, Mr. Cooper replied “yeah, go ahead I can’t do anything but you can.” TriMet procedures dictated that Mr. Cooper should have activated an emergency button under these circumstances, which he failed to do. In fact, Mr. Cooper did not notify dispatch until much later.
TriMet suggests that Mr. Cooper acted reasonably by allowing the assailant off the bus. However, this policy does not insulate TriMet from responsibility in this instance…Mr. Cooper had other options, including keeping quiet when first approached by the assailant, notifying the police, notifying his dispatcher and keeping the bus door closed.
Plaintiff (Albright) was negligent because he unlawfully stepped into traffic to block the bus in his unsuccessful effort to talk to Mr. Cooper. Plaintiff already had the information he needed to file his complaint. Plaintiff admitted under cross examination that he acted impulsively by stepping in front of the bus.
TriMet and Mr. Albright are equally responsible for Plaintiff’s subsequent injuries. I award the sum of $500.00 for general damages. The parties stipulated to the economic damages of $702.00. The total damages are $1,202.00, reduced by 50 percent for Plaintiff’s comparative fault. My judgment, therefore, is for Plaintiff for $601.00.”
For the complete memo, download the PDF.
So Randy, got any plans for your windfall? How about some seed money for a bicyclists legal defense fund ;-)?