A jury ordered the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to pay Mary Cuthbertson $17 million for the January 28, 2009 death of her 48 year old son, Cameron Cuthbertson. Mr. Cuthbertson, who was visually impaired, mistook the gap between Blue Line rail cars for a door, fell between the cars and was crushed when the train began to move. Brian Panish and Deborah Chang of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represented Mrs. Cuthbertson in her wrongful death suit.
Cameron Cuthbertson was preparing to board a southbound Blue Line train at the Del Amo Station around 9 a.m. when he stepped into the gap between rail cars, mistaking the opening for the door. Although Mr. Cuthbertson was able to get up after his fall and climb halfway back onto the platform, the train began to move, resulting in his death.
At the time of Mr. Cuthbertson’s death, the Blue Line was the only Metro line without protective barriers between rail cars, and the evidence at trial demonstrated that the MTA was well aware of the serious risk that the unprotected gaps between cars posed to the public, and, in particular, the visually impaired. Immediately following this incident, barriers were installed in front of the gaps between all Blue Line rail cars.
This verdict is a monument to the visually impaired residents of Los Angeles, and the world. There is no reason accidents like this should happen when there have been devices protecting the blind from the gaps between train cars for over 100 years. This verdict will be heard around the world, and will create change. Cameron Cuthbertson and his mother and family are heroes.