Case details

Defense: Bus safety standards followed during break down





Result type

Not present

ankle, anxiety, depression, fracture, mental, psychological
On July 5, 2012, plaintiff Gloria Trejo, 81, was a passenger on a tour bus that was taking senior citizens from Pomona Villa Senior Apartments to Harah’s Rincon Casino in San Diego. While traveling on southbound Interstate 15, near the Indian Truck Trail off-ramp, the tour bus broke down. Odyssey Coach Inc. was subsequently called to have a replacement bus sent, which was driven by the owner of the company, Ali Hajati. Once the second bus arrived, Trejo walked from the broken down bus to the replacement bus with the assistance of two gentlemen from Pacific Villas. She then climbed three or four stairs into the bus, but on the top step, she felt her right ankle give way and then felt her right knee “pop.” Trejo sued Odyssey Coach Inc.; Hajati; the driver of the tour bus that broke down, Gerald Rupple; the operatory of Pomona Villa Senior Apartments, Pacific Villas Pomona; and the owner of Pacific Villas, Sam Menlo, as trustee of the Sam Menlo Family Trust. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Odyssey was negligent for supplying a defective bus and for failing to train its driver on American with Disabilities Act standards. Counsel also contended that Odyssey failed to have the driver actually transfer Trejo from one bus to the other that Pacific Villas was negligent because its group leader denied Trejo the right to use her walker when she transferred from one bus to the next. Rupple testified on the first day of trial, but was ultimately not a defendant in the case. Hajati’s counsel moved for nonsuit after close of the plaintiff’s case, and it was granted. Thus, he was let out of the case. Odyssey’s counsel contended that the company followed all bus safety standards. Counsel for Menlo and Pacific Villas contended that although Trejo asked for her walker, the group leader from Pacific Villas determined that the terrain was too rocky for a walker to work effectively. Thus, counsel maintained that it was not safe for Trejo to use a walker at that time., Paramedics took Trejo to Inland Valley Medical Center, in Wildomar. She was diagnosed with a fracture of the right ankle and aperiprosthetic fracture of the right femur, just above a total knee replacement that was previously inserted in 2005. Trejo claimed she suffers from deconditioning, as she became more sedentary after the incident. She alleged she suffered a subsequent fracture to her left ankle due to an unstable gait and is now unable to walk. She also alleged that she has increased urinary tract infections and suffers from depression and anxiety, as well as suffers increased confusion and loss of memory. Trejo claimed that as a result, she lost the ability to perform many activities of daily living, including bathing, cooking, dressing, cleaning or even getting out of bed. Thus, Trejo claimed she had an $111,000 Medicare lien, and she sought recovery of $777,000 in future medical costs for 24-hour nursing care needs. She also sought recover of general damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Trejo’s were not related to any deviation from the standard of care and that nothing Odyssey Coach, Hajati or Pacific Villas did or did not do caused Trejo’s . Instead, counsel contended that Trejo’s periprosthetic fracture was due to osteoporosis and the pressure upon the bone against the titanium right knee replacement due to Trejo’s morbid obesity (as she was 5-foot, 6-inches and 300 pounds). Defense counsel also contended that Trejo had pre-existing double knee replacements, and suffered frequent urinary tract infections, difficulty walking, dizziness, and depression prior to the incident. Counsel further contended that Trejo was unable to perform many of her activities of daily living before the accident and already require In-Home Supportive Services.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Pasadena, CA

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