OC Seeks Tram Suit Dismissal

OCEAN CITY — The Town of Ocean City last week filed a motion in U.S. District Court formally seeking a dismissal of a $750,000 civil suit filed by a Pennsylvania woman allegedly injured in a Boardwalk tram accident.

According to the civil suit filed in U.S. District Court last summer, on Aug. 23, 2012, the plaintiff, Sherry Clapper of Altoona, Pa., was riding the Boardwalk tram. Around 6:30 p.m., the tram stopped on the Boardwalk at 7th Street to offload some passengers and accept new passengers. Clapper started to exit the tram as it stopped at 7th Street with one foot on the Boardwalk and one foot still on the tram when the conductor on the rear of the three-car train allegedly signaled to the driver he was “clear to go,” according to the complaint.

The tram driver then drove away while Clapper was allegedly halfway on the tram and halfway off, according to the complaint, which knocked the plaintiff to the ground and partially beneath the tram. According to the complaint, the tram then dragged Clapper for roughly 25 feet.

The suit names the town, the Mayor and Council, the conductor on the back of the tram who allegedly gave the go-ahead and the driver, who ultimately moved the tram forward with Clapper still half on and half off. The suit seeks $750,000 in compensatory and punitive damages against the collective defendants.

One count cites negligence on the part of the conductor and the driver, while a second count holds the town of Ocean City and its Mayor and Council responsible for the actions of their employees in the scope of operating the tram. A third count holds the town and its Mayor and Council responsible for negligent hiring, training and supervision of the tram operators.

“The defendant town of Ocean City and defendant Mayor and Council each had a duty to use reasonable care to select employees who were competent and fit to perform the duties of tram driver and tram conductor in a safe manner and to retain only those employees who performed their duties safely,” the complaint reads.

According to the suit, the plaintiff suffered damages including physical injury, the costs of medical treatment, pain, inconvenience, embarrassment and great mental anguish as a result. Last week, the town and the named defendants filed a motion to dismiss the suit, denying in part all or some of the allegations. No action had been taken on the motion to dismiss as of this week.