Case details

Bus passenger claimed sudden stop caused fall




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain damage, brain injury, head, hydrocephalus, language, neck, sensory, speech, stenosis, subdural hematoma, traumatic brain injury
On Nov. 13, 2015, plaintiff Luz Godizano, 59, a retiree, was a standing passenger on a San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency bus, on the 14R Mission Rapid route, traveling northeast on Mission Avenue, in San Francisco. As the bus approached the intersection with Geneva Avenue, the traffic light changed from green to yellow, and a vehicle operated by Daniel Monge Oliva made a left, southeast turn through the intersection in front of the bus. The bus’s operator, Julio Zamudio, slammed the brakes, causing Godizano to fall and hit her head on the metal console at the front of the bus. Godizano claimed to her head and neck. Godizano sued the owners of the bus, Zamudio’s employer, the city and county of San Francisco and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Daniel Monge Oliva and Iris Monge were later added as defendants. Godizano alleged that Zamudio was negligent in the operation of the bus and that the city and county of San Francisco and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, as common carriers, were liable for Zamudio’s actions. She also alleged that Monge Oliva was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Ms. Monge was vicariously liable for Monge Oliva’s actions. Godizano claimed that the bus’s operator failed to brake or slow the bus as it approached the intersection and that the bus’s sudden deceleration as Monge Oliva turned in front of it caused the accident. Plaintiffs’ counsel asserted that Zamudio was negligent in violating MUNI’s policy that an operator must slow down when approaching an intersection, especially after the light turned yellow. Counsel asserted that instead, Zamudio insisted on the right-of-way and did not ensure that he could clear the intersection before entering it. Counsel also asserted that Monge Oliva was comparatively negligent for turning into the bus’s path. Counsel for the city and county of San Francisco and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency contended that the accident was a result of Monge Oliva’s vehicle driving in front of the bus, which caused the bus operator to stop suddenly. Thus, counsel filed a motion for summary judgment, which plaintiff’s counsel opposed, but the motion was denied., Godizano suffered a traumatic brain injury, including subdural hemorrhages, subdural hematomas, and post-traumatic hydrocephalus. She also suffered from cervical stenosis as a result of the incident. However, she did not claim any at the scene, as she was barely responsive after the incident. Godizano claimed she did not know what happened and, ultimately, did not remember the incident. Nonetheless, she was initially conscious and taken by ambulance to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, in San Francisco. She ultimately underwent several surgeries, and engaged in physical and speech therapies. Godizano claimed that despite her treatment, she continues to have limitations, including upper and lower extremity weakness, reduced balance, abnormal gait, cognitive impairment, memory impairment, and daily posterior neck pain. She alleged that as a result, her ongoing life care will be extensive, but that it will primarily consist of ongoing physical and speech therapy, and neurological follow up evaluations. Prior to the accident, Godizano, who was retired, regularly walked for exercise, and volunteered at her church and at her minor daughter’s school. However, she claimed that she can no longer perform those activities as a result of her condition. Thus, Godizano sought recovery of medical costs and damages for her pain and suffering. Her husband, Robert Godizano, then 63, presented a derivative claim, seeking recovery for his loss of consortium.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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