Passenger’s Claim vs. SEPTA Dismissed

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A December 2010 decision by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a trial judge’s decision to dismiss a personal injury claim filed by a SEPTA passenger.  A woman boarded a SEPTA bus and then realized that she got on the wrong bus.  She asked the driver to let her off at the next stop by “kneeling” the bus.  The driver apparently did not hear the request.  As he opened the door, the passenger stepped out and fell.

After the personal injury claim was filed, SEPTA filed a Motion for Summary Judgment claiming that the lawsuit was barred by sovereign immunity.  The trial judge ruled that the failure to kneel the bus was not a negligent operation of a motor vehicle.  The Commonwealth Court agreed that this fact situation did not constitute operation of the SEPTA bus.  The bus was stopped to discharge the passengers and all of its parts and attachments were motionless at the time of the woman’s fall.  Royal v. SEPTA, 10 A.3d 927 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2010)

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