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Maloof v. MARTA

Court of Appeals of Georgia

February 24, 2015

MALOOF
v.
METROPOLITAN ATLANTA RAPID TRANSIT AUTHORITY

Page 175

Negligence. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Brasher.

Judgment affirmed in part and reversed in part, and case remanded.

Joseph H. King, Jr., for appellant.

Thomas Kennedy Sampson & Tompkins, Thomas G. Sampson II, Gerond J. Lawrence, for appellee.

RAY, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and McFadden, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 176

Ray, Judge.

Stephen Gerard Maloof, as administrator of Lorraine Maloof's estate (the " Estate" ), sued Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (" MARTA" ) for injuries sustained by Lorraine while she was riding as a wheelchair-bound passenger on a MARTA para-transit van that collided with another vehicle. MARTA filed a motion for summary judgment as to the Estate's remaining claims for negligence in failing to properly secure her wheelchair and failure to maintain a lane,[1] which the trial court granted. The Estate appeals from this order. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment as it relates to claims of MARTA's negligence for failing to properly secure Lorraine's wheelchair, we vacate the trial court's [330 Ga.App. 764] grant of summary judgment as it relates to claims of MARTA's negligence for failure to maintain a lane, and we remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

" On appeal from the trial court's grant of summary judgment, we conduct a de novo review of the record to determine whether the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, demonstrates a genuine issue of material fact." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Bennett v. MARTA, 316 Ga.App. 565, 566 (730 S.E.2d 52) (2012). Summary judgment is appropriate only where there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party demonstrates that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id.

The record shows that on April 13, 2005, Lorraine was a passenger on a MARTA para-transit van. After Lorraine got on the bus, she backed her powered wheelchair into position on the van, and the driver secured the wheelchair to the floor in four places and placed a lap belt on her. On the day of the accident, Lorraine refused to wear the shoulder harness. Lorraine had ridden the van at least a " couple dozen" times before and always declined use of the shoulder harness. Once Lorraine was secured, the van continued along its normal route.

As the van began traveling west on Ponce de Leon Avenue, William Cleveland's vehicle was also traveling west in the lane to the left of the MARTA van, closest to oncoming traffic. The MARTA van slowed down to make a wide right turn onto Piedmont Avenue and, in doing so, veered into the other westbound lane. As the MARTA van turned, Cleveland's right mirror struck and broke the left mirror of the MARTA van. The impact simply pushed Cleveland's vehicle's mirror inward, but did not damage it. Anticipating the impact, the MARTA van's driver stepped on the brakes, and Lorraine fell to the ground and fractured her leg. The wheelchair remained secured to the floor of the van. Police were summoned to the scene,

Page 177

and neither driver was issued a citation as a result of the incident. Lorraine was treated for her injuries and was immobile for several months ...


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