Passenger injured when bus driver loses consciousness. $1.1M. Los Angeles County.


Directed verdict as to liability when bus passenger falls as bus runs off the road.

The Case

  • Case Name: Emanuele Brenco v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles County / BC608617
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, May 04, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, January 29, 2016
  • Type of Case: Bus and Streetcar Passenger Accidents
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Lia Martin
  • Plaintiffs:
    Emanuele Brenco, 25, business development analyst
  • Defendants:
    Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,115,628
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past non-economic damages: $700,000

    Future non-economic damages: $280,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 damages.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: The amount of the verdict has been paid in full with interest. Costs motions are pending.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Liddy Law Firm by Don Liddy and Brynna Popka, Pasadena.
    Pheffer Law by Jeff Pheffer, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Archer Noris by Michael R. Nebenzahl and Christine D. Luong-Pham, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Stephen P. Grifka, M.D., ENT, Santa Monica.
    Rajan Patel, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Henry Chen, M.D., ENT, Los Angeles.
    Thomas Grogan, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Jon B. Landerville, accident reconstruction, Torrance.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):


Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On August 22, 2015, an LA Metro bus driver lost consciousness, ran off the road and struck a tree. Mr. Brenco, a 23-year-old student from Italy, was a passenger on the bus and was standing at the time of the accident; he fell and was injured.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the MTA and its drivers were the sole cause of the crash.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    The MTA initially denied liability. Shortly before trial the MTA admitted liability for the accident but contended that Mr. Brenco was negligent for standing up on the bus while texting and not holding on. MTA disputed the need for and cost of the future procedures. The defense examiner, Dr. Grogan, testified that plaintiff had healed completely and required no future treatment.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff suffered a forehead laceration, nasal fracture and various bruises and strains. At trial, the ENT, Dr. Grifka, recommended procedures to repair the nasal fracture, deviated septum and to revise a 3cm scar. Dr. Patel, the orthopedic surgeon, recommended an arthroscopy to address pain in the knee which Mr. Brenco experiences when he plays soccer.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $29,128
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $106,500

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $1,000,000
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $300,000

Additional Notes

The defense ENT, Dr. Chen, attempted to testify that the future nasal surgery could be done more cheaply with a “cash discount,” however the Court granted plaintiff's objection and excluded that testimony as lacking foundation. At the close of evidence, Judge Martin granted plaintiff's Motion for Directed Verdict as to liability and found that plaintiff was not negligent. The remaining issue as to damages was submitted to the jury.