Friday, January 28, 2011

Bus Video Convinces Lawyer to Drop Case Against Boston Transit

The personal-injury lawyer for one rider who filed suit after a T bus fender-bender now is backing away from his client.

“We are dropping the case,” attorney Timothy Roche of Dane Shulman Associates said yesterday after viewing MBTA video footage apparently showing his client and several other passengers barely flinching as a Route 28 bus is sideswiped by a car Nov. 27 in Roxbury.

The Herald in a front-page story Friday reported that T General Manager Richard Davey, battling a surge in claims and costly payouts, is cracking down on fraudulent lawsuits by using surveillance cameras installed in buses to target riders faking injuries in minor fender-benders.

In one video provided to the Herald, several men who appear unharmed after the car hits the bus are seen smiling, talking on cell phones and then flopping onto the floor and seats in unison.

Roche filed a notice of claim against the MBTA on Dec. 21 on behalf of his client, who the claim said suffered “neck, back, eye, shoulder” injuries in the Nov. 27 bus accident. The client did not return a message left yesterday by the Herald.

But her attorney said after examining the video and identifying his client, he concluded she was not injured.

“Unfortunate as the video is for the others and my client, we did what we were supposed to in terms of screening the case,” Roche said, adding that he relied on his client’s word and a police report indicating she and five other passengers were taken by ambulance to local hospitals.

“Justice prevails,” Davey said yesterday when told the attorney was jettisoning the case.

Last week, Roche had said he didn’t think the bus camera videos would be a deterrent against phony claims, citing the MBTA’s tough stance against bus injury claims as deterrent enough.

But yesterday he had a change of heart.

“Honestly, that’s a lot of wasted time,” he said of the paperwork in the case. “I am not unhappy that they have those videos because it makes my life easier. If somebody wants to come in and tell me a story, I’ll say ‘You better be telling me the truth, because they are going to have a video of you if this happened or didn’t happen.’ ”