By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia law firm, representing a woman injured in a deadly 2010 Megabus crash near Syracuse, NY, is filing briefs for a new trial after a mistrial was declared in her negligence lawsuit.
At the end of the nearly four-week-long trial, the jury hearing the case awarded $677,000 in the compensatory phase to 29-year-old Candice Burks, formerly of Mt. Laurel, NJ.
The total award was $719,000 including “delay” damages.
But in the second phase — the punitive portion — jurors could not answer the question of whether Megabus was “reckless.” Because of the deadlock, Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson granted a mistrial.
Now the judge will have to decide whether a new batch of jurors should hear the entire case or just the punitive phase.
“We believe that a new jury should hear all of the issues under the existing Pennsylvania law,” says Burks’ lawyer, Tom Kline. “That would mean that the case starts again.”
The Burks case is the only civil lawsuit against Coach USA and its subsidiary, Megabus, that went to trial. The others were settled out of court.
Four people died in the accident, when the double-decker bus slammed into a low hanging bridge. The driver was acquitted at his criminal trial.