SEPTA, others sued by leg amputee who was hit and dragged by mass transit bus

By Jon Campisi | Dec 11, 2013

A pedestrian whose leg was amputated after she was hit and dragged by a

mass transit bus has filed a personal injury claim against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Viorika Meza, who resides in Philadelphia’s Olney section, is suing SEPTA, bus driver Aaron Hughes and others over a Dec. 20, 2011, accident in her neighborhood that ended with the plaintiff being trapped and pinned by a SEPTA bus along Godfrey Avenue.

At around 6:40 in the evening, Hughes was turning the bus left onto Godfrey Avenue from 5th Street when he struck the plaintiff, who was a pedestrian crossing Godfrey at the time, according to the lawsuit.

As she was crossing the street, Meza, suddenly and without warning, was struck by the New Flyer model SEPTA bus, the suit states, an incident that caused her body to be dragged down the street by the bus and eventually pinned by the vehicle.

Emergency responders worked to free Meza from the weight of the vehicle, and the woman remained conscious during the extrication process, the record shows.

The plaintiff ultimately suffered the amputation of her left leg due to the accident.

The lawsuit says that Meza suffered permanent injury to her bones, cartilages, ligaments, muscles, nerves and tissues of her body, causing her to endure “unrelenting pain and disability.”

Meza has also allegedly suffered physical pain, discomfort, trauma, humiliation, embarrassment, emotional distress, sleeplessness, anxiety, inability to perform simple activities of daily living, depression, hopelessness and despondency.

The complaint says that Meza incurred substantial medical bills due to her injuries, and that she has had to “adjust to the life of a leg amputee,” which, in addition to the emotional toll, may include future monetary expenses.

The other defendants named in the litigation are SEPTA board member Pasquale T. Deon, Sr., SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey, and Rosco Inc., which supplied, distributed or sold the transit bus mirror system being used by the mass transit vehicle at the time of the accident.

The complaint contains counts of negligence, vicarious liability, civil rights violations, municipal liability, supervisor liability, design defect and failure to warn.

On the last claim, the plaintiff alleges that Rosco Inc., the maker of the bus’s mirror, failed to adequately warn people such as the plaintiff that the vertical mounting of the mirror system at or below the driver’s eye level on the driver’s side of transit buses created a high likelihood that pedestrian-bus left turn knock-down accidents present a serious safety risk.

In failing to adopt an alternative design of the mirror system, the suit says, Rosco acted with a “reckless and deliberate indifference” to the safety of the plaintiff.

Meza seeks exemplary damages, costs, attorneys’ fees, interest and delay damages.

The suit was filed on Dec. 6 at U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by attorneys Steven F. Marino and David H. Conroy, of the Philadelphia firm Marino & Conroy.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-07139-ER.

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