As mentioned in Thursday’s news roundup,  Metro lost a case in the Court of Appeals last week in Knappett v. King County Metro Transit, in which Mr. Knappett “sued King County (Metro) to recover damages for injuries that he sustained after slipping while exiting a county-operated bus on a rainy day.” A report from an earlier iteration of the lawsuit, resulting in a $1.3m award, is attached above.

Metro spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok was unable to confirm the size of the award after appeal, but she did remark that Metro was “obviously disappointed” in the verdict. They “have not yet made the decision to petition for review.” She added that the “buses and steps are safe” and that the entry to buses is “industry standard and perfectly safe.”

13 Replies to “Metro Loses In Court Again”

    1. Since steps were involved while exiting the bus, it was most likely not any current model. Statistically, it was probably a New Flyer D60.

      Other commenters seem to think it was ST route 522 (operated by Metro), which IIRC was running D60 coaches last time I rode it.

      These buses seem to have plenty of grab-handles and handrails in the entry/exit area… not sure if he was using them at the time or not.

      The flooring in those models of buses does get restaurant-kitchen slick every time it rains. Last month my wife slipped and fell in the muddy isle of a D60 on route 48. She got a puncture wound on her hand from debris on the floor when she landed, but so far it hasn’t gotten gangrenous and fallen off so we haven’t sued Metro. She did bleed all over the seat, though, and other passengers shied away from her and let her have the seat all to herself even for the rest of the (standing room only) trip.

  1. “On the morning of October 24, 2006, Keith Knappett was commuting from Bothell on a bus operated by Metro.” The way this is worded, it could have been a Sound Transit route 522 bus.

    In any case, Metro’s response is surprising. Even after a $1.3 million dollar judgement, they aren’t going to change a thing, opening themselves up to future lawsuits.

    But if the steps were slick as ice, why didn’t other passengers fall? Also, I want to know if he used the hand rails. If he didn’t, the jury should have factored that in to their decision and compensation.

    1. This is America, where no one is responsible for their own behavior and we all can blame someone else for every trouble.

      1. It’s probably also why it costs 5x per Km to build light rail in USA vs. what they can do it for in Europe, and why we need gates and barriers and cannot rely on motorists to obey traffic signals and signs.

      2. Now, now, don’t get carried away. You know darn well not every American is a greedy piece of work like that uncoordinated bozo.

  2. I’m still curious about exactly what model bus that was. I don’t know about slippery, but Breda front steps seemed extremely steep. I think that low-floor equipment will reduce falling injuries.

    Another question: I’m much in favor of drivers routinely and automatically kneeling buses at every stop. Is there any history on safety concerns with this mechanism? Or with injury from platform deployment?

    A huge percentage of transit litigation wouldn’t happen if the United States had the public health care that people in every other modern industrial country take for granted as a civil and human right.

    In a country where people are routinely driven into bankruptcy, and permanently out of the workforce, by a single injury, the right to sue amounts to self-defense a lot more legitimate- and many times more effective- than carrying a firearm.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Given that this occurred in 2006 on a bus traveling from Bothell to Seattle, it most likely would have been a D(E)60LFR operating 522/312. (The 312 used to travel through the DSTT and only had the hybrids up until the reopening in 2007)

      Then again, it may have also been a Sound Transit 40ft gillig since I’m not sure when they stopped using them on the 522.

    2. A huge percentage of transit litigation wouldn’t happen if the United States had the public health care that people in every other modern industrial country take for granted as a civil and human right.

      Quoted for truth.

      The only reason we have these massive personal-injury lawsuits in the US is because we have a for-profit healthcare system that places a huge emphasis on who will pay. Go single-payer and suddenly none of that shit matters anymore – if there’s too many of a type of injury, the government will simply outlaw whatever’s unsafe.

  3. If the rider really wants to see the problem solved, he should join with us in getting buses with steps phased out faster. The yellow material ain’t the problem.

    His lawyers are probably reading all the news sites, so I hope he sees how outdated his condemnations of Metro are, and how changes in the industry have passed him by. Don’t change out the material. Get rid of the steps.

  4. I don’t know all the details of this specific incident. What I know as a daily rider, though is that sometimes the entrance to the bus is very slippery and you have to be extra careful when boarding and de-boarding. Sometimes the driver doesn’t help things by slamming on the brakes at the stop. If you want me to speed things up by walking up to the front of the bus, then don’t try to knock me off my feet by acting like you’re driving a car. Slow the bus down to the stop, don’t suddenly press the brakes when you get there. Also, remember everyone, you keep asking people to use the bus for daily errands. So, when they do, that means that their arms could be full of grocery bags, Macys bags, whatever. So, when they are getting on/off the bus, they may not be grabbing both handles, only one since their other hand may be holding two or three bags. If I’m shopping at Pike Place Market, I’ll have either one heavy bag or two bags when I step off #41 at Northgate. Patience, especially when the floor is wet, is necessary. And again, the drivers could help by driving like they are driving a bus, not a 1970 Mustang…

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