The mother of a blind man killed after falling between cars of Los Angeles’s Metro Blue Line train—having mistaken the gap between cars for a door—was awarded $17 million in a the wrongful death lawsuit, report news sources.
The Los Angeles jury unanimously decided that Metro was negligent in the death of 48-year-old Cameron Cuthbertson, as was the train operator who, continued to drive until the end of the line—seven additional stops—after the accident and failed to adhere to operation protocols. Metro intends to appeal the jury decision.
Cuthbertson’s mother was represented by Brian Panish of Panish Shea & Boyle in the wrongful death suit that alleged that the transportation agency was negligent for not taking adequate measures to ensure the safety of seeing-impaired passengers, namely failing to erect barriers that would prevent blind passengers from stepping between cars. It was argued that the omission was especially egregious given the heavy reliance of the blind on trains.
Cuthbertson, a lay minster who became legally blind after developing glaucoma in his 20s, died January 28, 2009. He was en route to a church in Long Beach when he attempted to board a train at the Blue Line’s Del Amo station. He mistook a gap between the cars for a door and fell to the tracks. As he attempted to climb back on to the platform, the train pulled away, crushing him.
Protective barriers were installed immediately after Cutherbertson’s death.
As a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney, I am glad that we were able to help Mr. Cutherberson’s mother receive the compensation she deserves in the wake of this tragedy.