Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dustin Dibble Proves NYC Transit Needs To Watch Out For Drunks On The Tracks!


A defense lawyer may have thought that Dustin Dibble did not have a leg to stand on in his lawsuit against the NYC Transit. Nevertheless, a Manhattan jury determined otherwise when they awarded $2.33 million to a drunk man who lost his leg after stumbling onto the path of a subway train.

Dustin Dibble, 25, had his leg severed in the April 23, 2006 accident. Dustin fell onto the subway tracks after a late night at a bar watching a hockey game. A train proceeded to run over his right leg. According to Dibble's lawyer, Andrew Smiley, NYC Transit was liable because the subway driver failed to stop the train despite having time to do so.


Dibble's blood-alcohol was .18, according to his lawyer. While this was more than twice the legal limit, that did not excuse the train driver from keeping a proper look out and stopping the train. Using comparative fault, the jury accessed Dibble with 35 percent fault and thus reduced the verdict by 35 percent -- from $3,594,943 to $2,336,713.

The MTA may attempt to appeal the decision, but at least for now, one might expect that the jury's decision has put a little bit of bounce back into Dustin Dibble's step.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surprising jury verdict!

Doc said...

Drunks have a right to expect others will watch out for them too, you know. Would it be any different if the guy had been on the tracks because of an epileptic fit?

Doc said...

Drunks have a right to expect others will watch out for them too, you know. Would it be any different if the guy had been on the tracks because of an epileptic fit?

Anonymous said...

In terms of the MTA's liability, the point isn't whether the person on the tracks was drunk or not. We don't know the exact circumstances that led to him being on the tracks - its speculation. Plus, as another poster mentioned, people can end up on the tracks for a variety of reasons.

The train operator saw something in the tracks when he was 180 feet away but chose at first not to stop because he though it was garbage. Apparently, if he had put the emergency breaks on immediately the train would have stopped short of the person in the tracks. There's a couple problems with this: For one, the operator failed to consider the possibility that this was a person in the tracks at the platform. Second, even if the operator didn't think it was a person, he was willing to run over an unidentified object with the train and risk the safety of passengers.

The MTA either doesn't have a clear policy for proper reaction to these situations or the operator wasn't following policy. Either way the MTA is partly liable.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon above. the train driver was a dumb sh%t for not stopping once he saw something on the tracks ahead...

Mr. Noface said...

This verdict was fail in my opinion. I feel that Dibble's comparative fault should have been more than 35%. Yes, the train operator had the last clear chance to avoid running over Dibble's leg and his not doing so makes him negligent (so vicariously MTA should be expected to pay a portion of the damages awarded to Dibble). The doesn't, however, negate the fact that the only reason that Dibble was on the track in the first place was because he was drunk. That kind of behavior should have place his comparative fault at 50% or more. If Dibble ended up on the track for any other reason (that didn't imply fault on his part) besides being drunk, then the outcome would have been (and should have been) different. He probably would have gotten all of the damages and it would have been deserved.

MTA should appeal IMHO!

cindy said...

Good analysis Mr. No face. Something I would expect to learn in law school. But welcome to the real world where juries rule


Cindy

Anonymous said...

Juries rule and the NYC transit drules!

Anonymous said...

Certainly a feather in the plaintiff's lawyers cap.

Anonymous said...

Sweet victory. Show me da money!

Jeremiahggxo said...

Sweet victory. Show me da money!

Anonymous said...

Money may not cure everything, but it certainly helps!