OC Municipal Bus Lawsuit Settled

OCEAN CITY — A $100,000 civil suit filed against the town of Ocean City alleging negligence for an incident in July 2007 when the plaintiff stepped off a municipal bus allegedly too far from the curb and fractured her ankle was officially dismissed last week although the exact terms of the settlement have not been made public.

In June 2010, New Jersey resident Teresa Edwards filed suit in U.S. District Court alleging negligence on the part of the town of the Ocean City and a seasonal bus driver following an incident in July 2007 during which she fell while getting off a municipal bus. In the suit, Edwards claims the bus stopped at her destination but was too far from the curb, causing her to step onto the street.

“When she reached her stop, [the driver] negligently failed to pull the bus next to the curb, causing Ms. Edwards and the other passengers to step onto uneven concrete,” the complaint read. “When she stepped on this concrete, Ms. Edwards fell and fractured her left ankle.”

The suit alleged negligence against the seasonal bus driver for allegedly failing to pull the bus close enough to the curb to allow Edwards and the other passengers to safely disembark. The town of Ocean City was named as a defendant for failing to properly train its seasonal bus drivers, and for allegedly knowing about the poor condition of the roadway where the plaintiff fell and failing to repair it.

“Ocean City failed to properly train the driver by, among other things, emphasizing the need to stop the bus directly adjacent to a curb so that passengers would not have to step on potentially hazardous areas of the roadways,” the complaint read. “Further, Ocean City was aware of the uneven concrete on which the plaintiff injured herself prior to July 17, 2007, yet failed to address this hazardous condition. For these reasons, Ocean City was negligent and these acts of negligence proximately caused the plaintiffs’ injuries.”

Last October, Ocean City filed a motion to dismiss the suit, claiming the plaintiff’s failure to provide the municipality with a notice of a claim within 180 days of the incident in question as the basis for the dismissal, but the town’s motion to dismiss was denied. The case then moved forward toward a trial, but a settlement conference was held on Oct. 25.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Gesner issued an order dismissing the case, citing a settlement had been reached. However, the terms of the settlement have not been made public citing a confidentiality agreement.

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