Court battle continues for bus victim struck ten years ago

September 19, 2013 2:59:46 PM PDT
For ten years, an entire decade, Claude Williams has been battling the Transit Authority in court. In 2003, Williams was struck by a bus in Harlem and suffered permanent brain damage.

"How many holes did they drill?" Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Jim Hoffer asked.

"Two in front and see right back there," said Claude Williams, the plantiff.

Williams would be a millionaire had the court not tossed out the jury's verdict in the first trial. In 2009, a jury found the Transit Authority and bus driver 100-percent liable based in part on a Supervisor's own notes on the accident in which he wrote, "Bus operator should have been able to stop bus sooner if traveling at the slow speed she indicated."

"Clear evidence to support finding of liability against bus operator," said Ezra Glasser, Williams' attorney.

Including testimony from an ambulance driver who testified that he saw the bus go through a yellow or possibly red light seconds before hitting Mr. Williams.

The jury found the bus operator 100-percent liable and awarded Claude Williams $1.8 million. But the TA appealed, and the Judge ruled the jury's finding "irrational,'' and tossed it out.

"Disturbing and devastatingly unfair to my client," Glasser said.

So Mr. Williams headed back to court and the jury again found in his favor but this time held the bus driver 40-percent liable. The Transit Authority again appealed and weeks ago, the court, because of a technicality, for a second time, vacated the jury's verdict and ordered a third trial for a now 76-year-old plaintiff.

"You keep winning, the jury keeps saying you should be compensated for injuries, what happens?" Hoffer asked.

"They don't want to pay I guess," Williams said.

Mr. Williams half-joking says they're trying to run out the clock on him but he wants the court and transit to know his mother is 95, alive and healthy.

"Not giving up, that's not in the cards?" Hoffer asked.

"No," Williams said.

A spokesman for the MTA says they appealed the jury's decision in both trials so as to do everything they can to assure that the public dollars to where they are meant to go, to provide service to their customers.

No date has been set for the start of the third trial.


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