OAKLAND, CA – AC Transit has settled a lawsuit filed by an Oakland woman for injuries she suffered riding her bicycle when she was struck by a bus. The incident occurred in Emeryville back in 2012. The woman will receive a pay out of $2.5 million.
This is just one of a number of large settlements or verdicts announced against the transit agency in the past few years. Carter Zinn, the attorney who brought the case on behalf of the injured woman, said this case underscores a lack of training for AC Transit drivers as well as a lack of discipline and accountability for reckless drivers.
According to Zinn, “The AC Transit has systematically failed to identify and get the message to dangerous drivers that their driving habits are unacceptable and that they will be disciplined. If these drivers do not get the message they should be taken off the road.”
The board of directors of AC Transit last week approved the amount of the settlement in the civil case filed in Alameda County, McClendon v. Transit. No one from their office returned our calls asking for comment.
According to Zinn, on July 17, 2012 Cara McClendon, 35 was on her bicycle riding along San Pablo Ave. near 45th St. in Emeryville. An AC Transit bus, being driven by Lynn Jackson was making a left turn when she hit McClendon. The bus was empty at the time as it was returning to the transit yard located on 45th St. Jackson did not slow down to check if anyone was in the intersection, before she made the turn going 20 miles an hour. Zinn also said that AC Transit tells its drivers to enter turns driving no faster than 5 miles an hour.
Recent articles in the Contra Costa Times on cycling accidents have been alarming and cause for a rethinking of how we address the various types of riders on our roads. Our public roadways are for everyone; car drivers, trucks, bikers and cyclists. Cyclists love riding Mount Diablo because it offers a test of vigor and skill, and scenic pleasures beyond a normal biking trail. However, bikers do understand the dangers, as Bruce McConnell from the Press Democrat explains:
I will caution that nearly all of the cycling accidents on Diablo are on the downhill descent as riders overlook corners or collide with cars passing going uphill. Slow down, the view going down should be experienced not raced.
California law prohibits any driver from using a handheld mobile phone or device while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 in California are considered novices, and as such are prohibited from any use of cell phones while driving, handheld or not.
Since the law does not permit the use of handheld cell phones while driving, these are the remaining options:
While driving simply abstain from using your cell phone
The truth is that a great number of people who must seek compensation for injury or death on our nation's roads do so for accidents related to trucks. According to the data provided by the US Department of Transportation there are close to half a million truck accidents each year nationally, with a larger than average percentage of highway fatalities caused by accidents involving trucks. These are sad and difficult statistics given just how few of them are on the roads comparative to other vehicles. According to the 2013 SWITRS report on trucking fatalities compiled by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) where a truck driver was at fault, the five most common causes were:
O’Connor, Runckel and O’Malley LLP would like to announce our 2015 scholarship recipient, Luis Beltran. Luis holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He graduated UNLV with a 3.6 gpa. Luis is a strong member of his community while holding positions as a mediator, house parent, and probation officer. In the fall, Luis will be attending the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Luis expresses his commitment to utilizing his law degree in order to advocate for victims and to improve the quality of life for underserved communities.
We look forward to watching Luis succeed in his upcoming years at Hastings.
The term "damages" in relation to a personal injury case refers to the amount of money claimed or awarded in compensation for a loss or an injury. In order to maximize the award, it is important to take into account all damages suffered by the victim.
If you have been seriously injured due to someone else's negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. In the case of a personal injury lawsuit, the injured person, also called the plaintiff, seeks compensation from the person or company that is legally responsible for the accident: the defendant or their insurers. A damage award can be agreed upon out of court in a private, negotiated settlement, or it can be ordered by a judge/jury following a court trial.
To determine how much your case is worth, it is important to know just what factors into a personal injury claim. The following components will have significant impact of the value of your claim:
The destructive 2012 gas pipe explosion in San Bruno that claimed eight lives and destroyed 38 homes has yielded a multitude of lawsuits against PG&E. In a settlement with the Greig family, PG&E agreed to strengthen its gas pipeline safety regulations. The utility must maintain closer observation of the lifespan of its pipelines, and must calculate a minimum safe lifespan for pipes in populated areas. This will allow PG&E to identify weaker or aged pipes and replace them before they become dangerous, potentially preventing incidents like the one in San Bruno.
The Greigs will be able to receive an audit of the company's progress on these changes, and can prompt mediation talks if they see that the utility is not holding its end of the settlement. The family will receive regular reports describing progress made.
The deadline for these changes is set on December 31st, 2015, or whichever date is decided on by the California Public Utilities Commission. PG&E states that it has already begun following the new requirements, but the process will be an ongoing effort.
Highway 238's traffic has slowed to a crawl due to a pileup of two big rigs and a car that cause the death of at least one person.
Around 5:24a.m. a sedan struck two big rig trucks, becoming trapped under one while causing the other to leak gas.
The Alameda Country Fire crews tried to extract the driver of the smaller vehicle that had become trapped underneath one of the big rigs as of 5:45a.m., but without success. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:30a.m.
The California Highway Patrol received the report at approximately 5:20a.m. on northbound Highway 238, near the Interstate Highway 880 connector and south of Hesperian.
Six sisters who had been sexually abused by their parents virtually every day since they were toddlers say that their nightmare grew more horrific as the people they counted on to rescue them -- police, child-welfare workers, their church pastor -- failed to deliver.
Bruce "Zion" Dutro, 51, was sentenced to 300 years in state prison, and his 49-year-old wife was sentenced to 15 years in 2011 after taking a plea deal in what veteran sex crimes prosecutor Paul Graves called the worst child sex abuse case in memory to go through Contra Costa County courts.
A year after their parents were imprisoned for sex crimes spanning 20 years, the Dutro sisters -- Glenda Stripes, Amber and Sarah Dutro, Martha McKnelly, Frances Smith and Christina Moore -- are now suing the people and agencies they say failed to protect them as children by not following laws and procedures for handling child abuse.
"Every one of the agencies had the duty and power to save these girls, and every one failed them," said the sisters' attorney, Jason Runckel, founding partner of O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley. "They made their father untouchable. The girls never had a voice."
The lawsuit, filed in Contra Costa Superior Court last week against Contra Costa County, city of Antioch, Calvary Open Bible Church in Antioch, and seven individuals who are either current or former CPS, police department or church employees. It alleges the defendants were negligent and failed to fulfill state-mandated duties that, if done, would have spared the Dutro children years of further abuse.
"We came forward because we didn't want it to happen to another child," said Sarah Dutro, 28. "We didn't know until the case was over how badly everyone screwed up before." The suit asks for an undisclosed amount for past and future medical bills, and pain and suffering for the sisters, each of whom suffers from severe psychological disorders as a result of the abuse. Now adults with 12 children among them, the sisters gave permission to reveal their names in this story.
The 22-page civil complaint names defendant Mark Wood as the pastor whom Stripes first told about the abuse Aug. 2, 1995, and claims his immediate tipoff to the parents afforded them time to condition their daughters to lie to authorities.
That same day, the parents locked up five of the girls in one bedroom and Glenda in another, the victims said. For 16 days, until police sent CPS to the house Aug. 18, 1995, the sisters said they were beaten, starved, sleep-deprived and brainwashed on what to say to authorities. Young Glenda, meanwhile, was subjected to the same torture between rapes.
Wood, Stripes and her parents first went to the Antioch Police Department six days after the 14-year-old had confided in Wood. Officer William Dee noted in his police report that he was instructed by Detective Demetree Barakos before the meeting not to arrest Bruce Dutro, and so he sent the family home after obtaining a confession from the father, said Runckel, the sisters' attorney. Both Barakos and Dee are defendants in the lawsuit. It was another officer who called Bruce Dutro back to the Police Department on Aug. 18, 1995, and sent CPS to the house after obtaining a second confession.
"They actually apologized to my parents for being there, as if it was an inconvenience," said McKnelly, 26. Bruce Dutro pleaded to one count of child molestation for fondling Stripes, when in reality he was raping her, she said, and he spent four days in jail before being sentenced Nov. 1, 1995, to three years of probation. The judge ordered him to register as a sex offender and obey all CPS orders.
For the first six months of his probation, Bruce Dutro lived in an apartment near the family home. Glenda Lea Dutro moved in with him, leaving their daughters by themselves at the house with little food. Like many times in the course of their childhood, the Dutro girls were not enrolled in school.
At night, their mother would bring one of them to the apartment to have sex with their father. Had anyone from the county ever visited the house as they were supposed to, they would have at minimum learned that the girls were living without adult supervision, Runckel said.
"My father told me after 1995 and he was slapped on the wrists, every time he molested me, it was like laughing in their face," Stripes said. "It's not about getting money. I want things to change so no child has to go through what I went through."
O'Connor, Runckel and O'Malley is a law firm dedicated to the protection of the victims of sexual abuse.