Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (“AC Transit”) passengers received final justice in the California Court of Appeal in late August when a prior $15,313,703 award was upheld. Lawyers from Panish Shea & Boyle (PSB), Reed Smith and solo practitioner Ivan W. Golde secured the landmark judgment for a mother and daughter who were injured by a reckless driver in 2011.

The plaintiffs in the case, Mia and her mother, Maria Francisco, were injured when the bus went over a speed bump in a school zone at 30 mph, more than twice the legal speed limit, throwing Maria into the air from her metal seat and causing her to land with such extreme force that she suffered a severe traumatic burst fracture to her L1 vertebra. Despite her obvious distress, the AC Transit bus driver began verbally attacking Ms. Francisco in front of her daughter, accusing her of lying about her injury and threatening her with prosecution. The entire incident, including the bus driver’s conduct, was captured on videotape by AC Transit cameras.   

As a result of her injury, Ms. Francisco underwent three spinal surgeries, including a spinal fusion, and it would take nearly three years for AC Transit to admit liability.

“The decision affirming the jury’s verdict will hopefully force AC Transit’s insurance company to do the right thing to pay the judgment in full,” said PSB’s Spencer Lucas. “Ms. Francisco owes more than $1 million in past medical expenses and is in desperate need of ongoing treatment. This decision will allow her to finally get the treatment she needs.”

Plaintiffs were represented on appeal and at trial by Brian Panish, Spencer Lucas and Patrick Gunning of PSB. Plaintiffs were also represented on appeal by Margaret M. Grignon of Reed Smith LLP and in the case by Ivan Golde of the Law Offices of Ivan W. Golde.

The case was Francisco v. Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, at the Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District, Division Three.

Leaders In The Law reported on another of PSB’s substantial results in August.