Metro Transit sued over death of employee


SEATTLE — On December 23, a lawsuit was filed against King County Metro Transit on behalf of the family of deceased Metro employee, Victoria Chiudina. Ms. Chiudina, a Metro bus driver, was hit by a bus in the Central Base Maintenance Yard on November 23, 2003. She died less than a week later at Harborview Medical Center from massive head trauma. Ms. Chiudina’s family is represented by the Seattle firm Marler Clark LLP.

The driver of the bus, according to the lawsuit, was a longtime Metro employee who had a history of epileptic seizures, accidents, corrective brain surgery, and subsequent vision loss. It is also alleged that the driver was traveling at nearly double the posted speed limit and was heavily medicated, failing several field sobriety tests administered shortly after the accident. Metro’s subsequent investigation into the accident found that “[The driver’s] post accident blood test revealed a level of prescription medicine in his bloodstream which interfered with his ability to safely drive a vehicle.”

According to the lawsuit, Metro is responsible for Ms. Chiudina’s death because it failed to adequately supervise its employees and to furnish a workplace free of recognized hazards. Metro is also liable, according to the suit, for the negligence of the employee who was driving the bus.

“Ms. Chiudina’s three children, and the rest of her family, have suffered a grievous loss,” said William Marler, attorney for the Chiudina family. “With conduct as reprehensible as Metro’s was in this case, not to mention that of the bus’s driver, I hope only to see justice done for those who have just survived their first year without a mom.”

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BACKGROUND: William Marler represented the parents of Michael Schuerhoff in a civil lawsuit against 5 teens charged for pushing him to his death from an abandoned Bothell train trestle in 1996. He also represented the family of William Louth, a worker who died when a crane rammed the Kingdome ceiling during emergency repairs. In 1992, Marler represented the families of children murdered by Wesley Alan Dodd. He is best known for litigation resulting from foodborne illness cases, and his 1993 $15.6 million settlement with Jack in the Box on behalf of Brianne Kiner.