Case details

Passenger claimed shoulder injury after bus crash





Result type

Not present

head, headaches neck, left shoulder
On Aug. 28, 2011, plaintiff Marisa Butchart, a waitress in her 30s, was a passenger on a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus that was traveling on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. At some point, the bus driver, Lennon Theroid Gie II, lost control and rear-ended a parked tour bus. Butchart, who was seated at the time, claimed an injury to her left shoulder. Butchart sued the LACMTA and Gie. Butchart alleged that Gie was negligent in the operation of the bus and that the LACMTA was vicariously liable for Gie actions through the course and scope of his work for the company. Butchart claimed that Gie fell asleep behind the wheel of the bus, which was confirmed in the police report, causing him to lose control and rear-end the parked tour bus. Gie and the LACMTA admitted liability for the accident., Butchart treated with paramedics at the scene and followed up at an urgent care facility the next day. She presented with a left shoulder injury, as well as some neck pain and complaints of headaches. Butchart was diagnosed with a left acromioclavicular joint separation, which she treated with pain injections. She also saw an orthopedist in September 2011. Butchart claimed that while her neck injury has resolved, she still experiences severe neck pain and discomfort. She also claimed she could no longer wait tables due to her condition, forcing her to quit her job and move back in with her parents. (She has since found new employment at another position in the restaurant industry.) Butchart alleged that as a result of her condition, she has been recommended arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Thus, Butchart sought recovery of $8,400 in past medical costs. She also sought recovery of future medical costs (for the possible shoulder surgery) and past lost earnings. In addition, she sought recovery of damages for her pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed Butchart’s shoulder injury, arguing that she only suffered soft-tissue strains and sprains. Counsel argued that even if Butchart did suffer an AC joint separation, the injury should have resolved with medications and injections, and did not require surgery. Defense counsel further argued that Butchart failed to mitigate her damages by quitting her job, as she could have taken some time off and returned to waiting tables at the same restaurant or a different one.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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