Ned Einstein’s Latest Case Tackles Bus Collision with Lift

Transportation Alternatives assisted the defendant – the nation’s principal manufacturer of scissor lifts (a form of mobile scaffolding) – in an unusual form of lawsuit involving a cross-claim by the principal and legitimate defendant in the case, the New York City Transportation Authority (NYCTA). In this accident, the “MTA’s” driver approached the underpass of a railroad beneath which two workers were standing on a raised platform (the scissor lift) while repairing a light fixture on the underside of the overpass. While the driver slowed to between two and four mph to better observe the height of the platform, and determine whether or not his vehicle (a CNG-powered transit bus with roughly an eight-inch CNG canister housing placed at the middle and rear positions of the roof) could clear it, his testimony revealed that he not only did not know the height of his vehicle, but did not even know its width – despite the fact that every single integral transit bus in this country is precisely 8 ½-feet wide (this driver guessed his was 10-feet wide, and that his bus was 11 feet tall – whereas it was either 11’5” or 11’6” tall at the top of the CNG canister). As a result, the driver felt he had enough “clearance,” and apparently did not see an extension of the platform projecting roughly three feet into the adjacent lane into which safety devices guided him. As a result, he struck this extension, knocking over the platform. Falling from its roughly 12-foot height, the decedent was killed from a serious head wound almost instantly, and his co-worker suffered brain damage.

Reflecting the fact that this cross-claim or “subrogation” (the form it would likely have taken had it been filed after the principal defendant was held liable) was a little more than a ruse designed to deceive the court (this defendant merely manufactured the lift, and had nothing to do with its operation), the defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (dismissal) was granted less than a week after Mr. Einstein was engaged as the defendant’s expert.