Over the years, the finances of the MTA have taken a hit from many different directions. The usual suspects are lower than expected tax revenue, cost overruns, etc…. However one of the other issues that hurt the MTA’s financial picture is the money dished out to lawsuit winners. The New York Daily News takes a look at how legal quirks have been costing the MTA major money. Pete Donohue has more:
NYC Transit has been forced to shell out nearly $1 billion in personal injury suits over the past two decades – partly because of legal quirks that make it an easy mark, officials claim.
Transit officials have tried in vain to get the Legislature to ban suits from people who engage in dangerous activity, such as drunkenly walking on subway tracks.
Albany’s refusal to act means legal payouts swallow millions of dollars a year, leaving less for service improvements.
“We’re classic deep-pocket defendants,” said Martin Schnabel, NYC Transit vice president and general counsel.
There’s no shortage of logic-defying rulings, officials say.
The state’s highest court three years ago ruled NYC Transit must pay a $1.4 million award to a Queens teen who lost his legs after being struck by a train.
The drunken teen believed part of the No. 7 line was not in service and jumped to the tracks in Queens to walk the rails.
As a train bore down, the teen and his pals tried to outrun it to the next station platform instead of taking shelter between pillars on the track.
Another jury recently gave $2.3 million to a man who couldn’t recall how he wound up on the tracks at the Union Square station.
He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 when he was struck by a train entering the station and lost a leg.
The lawyers who sued NYC Transit claimed the motormen in both cases should have been able to stop in time.
Click here for the complete report.
Some of the verdicts awarded to these people is beyond inexcusable. I recall reading about some of them & being outraged. Why should the MTA pay for the irresponsible actions of others? The answer is they should not be bound to financial responsibility for the inability of some idiots whose irresponsible behavior lead to their accidents. The laws need to be changed so the MTA & other companies should not have to pay for the irresponsibility of others.
xoxo Transit Blogger