Case details

Defense argued exception to bus’s light/stop sign protocol





Result type

Not present

left leg, left thigh, mid-shaft femur fracture
At around 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2014, plaintiff Hannah-Mariel Adaya, 18, a developmentally disabled student, was being transported on a bus operated by Juan Rangel Flores, who was working within his scope of employment with the Hayward Unified School District. Rangel Flores stopped at a designated stop, adjacent to San Lorenzo High School, in San Lorenzo. However, he did not initiate the light and stop sign protocol. As a result, Adaya exited the vehicle, walked in front of the bus, and stepped into the path of an oncoming vehicle, which was operated by an uninsured driver. Adaya subsequently sustained to her left thigh. Adaya sued Rangel Flores and his employer, the Hayward Unified School District. Adaya alleged that Rangel Flores was negligent for not instituting the crossover light/stop sign protocol and for not otherwise preventing the accident. Eden Area Regional Occupational Program and Ralph Misa were also initially defendants in the case, but they were both dismissed before trial. Defense counsel for Rangel Flores and the school district contended that the specific vehicle code section that provided for instituting the crossover light/stop sign protocol has an exception that stated that in the case of a bus stopped adjacent to a school, where none of the passengers must cross the street, the bus driver does not need to initiate the light/stop sign protocol. Defense counsel also argued that Adaya did not have to cross at that exact location where she did and that, in the past, Adaya invariably did not cross the street, but rather walked directly to a school parking lot, where she was picked up by her father. On the subject date, Adaya’s father had allowed his daughter to walk home. However, defense counsel argued that Rangel Flores did not know that Adaya had intended to walk home and that he had never seen her cross the street in the past. Judge Julia Spain gave a negligence-per-se instruction., Adaya sustained a mid-shaft femur fracture to her left leg. She was subsequently taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she underwent open reduction and internal fixation the following day, on Feb. 11, 2014. Adaya had a slow recovery, and she claimed that she suffers from residual muscle atrophy, pain, and weakness. She also claimed that she is continuing to experience significant limitation in her left leg and relies on a cane to walk. Adaya had no claim for income loss or future medical expenses, and it was stipulated that her past medical expenses totaled $124,409.76. She also sought recovery of damages for her pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Hayward, CA

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