The Maryland Litigation Blog

Facts and Opinions.
Feel free to disregard the opinions.

MTA Lawsuits are Plentiful

By Byron Warnken

I’ve been curious about the frequency of lawsuits against the MTA (the Maryland Transit Administration).  When I saw the story of the instigating bus driver in the news, I couldn’t help but look a little further.

The MTA Should Be Ashamed

On October 9th 2014, Karen Murphy, a former Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) bus driver went to court in response to 3 charges of second degree assault and 3 counts of conspiracy for an incident that occurred on June 6th. There is no civil lawsuit involved as of yet.

Case number: 1B02075473

What happened?

On June 6th 2014, Kristen Gibson and Christopher Fisher were picking up their 9-year-old son Logan from school when they approached Murphy about the safety of her overcrowded bus. Murphy pulled over and began yelling in the parents’ faces, threatening them with violence. Murphy then allegedly asked 15-20 students from a local high school teens to beat up the family once they exited the bus. Murphy looked on as the family was physically assaulted and pepper sprayed, letting the juveniles use her bus as the get-away vehicle. As a result of the attack, Fisher suffered from temporary eye problems, and Gibson lost teeth and had to go to a local hospital for seizures. Logan was pepper sprayed while trying to defend his mother. The four-minute assault was caught on tape, which led to Murphy’s arrest and the arrest of 8 attackers.

And the MTA Should Pay

MTA Lawsuits

Though Murphy’s does not yet, according to Judiciary Case Search, include a civil suit against the MTA, there have been many claims filed against the MTA in recent years. According to Maryland Case Search, there have been over 500 cases filed against the MTA in 2013, 69 of which were filed in the Baltimore City Circuit Court. Of those 69, 55 were motor tort cases. Nearly 325 tort cases were filed in the Baltimore City District Court, and nearly 65 were filed in the Towson District Court.

The MTA has great room for improvement, judging by the number of lawsuits as well as complaints lodged against the organization. A 2011 survey of 6,700 MTA users reported that lateness (1400 responses), skipped stops (350 responses), and rude drivers (250 responses) were the 3 largest named problems.

Veolia Lawsuits

Veolia Transportation Services (formerly known as Connex-ATC) is a private contractor for the MTA that has also had a significant number of lawsuits filed against them. Since 2013, Veolia has been a defendant in over 68 tort cases, 23 motor tort cases, and 16 civil cases. 4 years after arriving in the United States, Veolia became the largest privately owned public transportation company in North America.

Lawyers

Plaintiff

There was a wide range of plaintiff lawyers in the cases against the MTA and Veolia; there are many experiences personal injury lawyers serving the injured in the area. The Law Office of Barry R. Glazer, Miller & Zois, The Law Offices of Eugene Glazer, and The Law Offices of Seymour Goldstein had multiple cases.

Sellers, Fox, Kahn & Bender had the most cases against the MTA, though not by much. Since 2013, John N. Fox of Sellers, Fox, Kahn & Bender has represented clients in over 80 motor tort cases, 13 criminal cases, 9 tort cases, and 6 divorce cases, among others. The firm as a whole has handled thousands of injury cases in its history.

Other injury lawyers involved in MTA lawsuits include Mark Herman, Lee Saltzberg, Harvey Kirk, Stuart Arnovitz, Marc Atas, Bob Zarbin, Craig Zissel, and numerous others.

Defense

There was far less variety among defense attorneys, including Drechsler, Larkin & Walters, the Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse, and H Harrit Peterson Jr. & Associates.

Lawsuit Specifics

According to Judiciary Case Search, the Maryland Transit Administration gets called by many names when it gets sued in Maryland. These include the Mass Transit Administration, MTA, Maryland Transit Administration, and multiple derivations thereof.

In all, throughout the history of the organization, there are tens of thousands of legal actions. Transportation is, by nature, a dangerous business and movement often leads to injury. However, the case involving the driver organizing a beat-down is likely one that could have been avoided.

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