Bus drivers sue MTA after personal vehicles destroyed in 2010 flood

Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 10:05pm

Nineteen bus drivers have filed separate lawsuits against the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Davidson Transit Organization after their personal vehicles were destroyed during last year’s historic flood.

The lawsuits claim that MTA officials wouldn’t allow drivers to move their vehicles on May 2, 2010, as rising waters from the Cumberland River approached the main terminal on Nestor Street.

“(Plaintiff’s) request (to move the vehicle) was refused with the threat of disciplinary actions, up to and including termination if Plaintiff left the premises,” the complaints read.

As a result, floodwaters destroyed all 19 of the drivers’ vehicles and the contents inside, including cash, clothing, stereo equipment and other electronics.

The vehicles ranged from a 2006 Kia Sorento to a 1989 Chevrolet S-10 truck.

According to the complaints filed in Davidson County Circuit Court, MTA officials allowed at least one person to leave the main terminal to purchase pizza for the drivers several hours after denying them access to their vehicles.

The plaintiffs are charging MTA and DTO with negligence in regards to safeguarding and supervising the employee parking area.

Eighteen lawsuits were filed on Thursday afternoon and one was filed on Nov. 22.    

17 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 12/9/11 at 6:52

I fail to understand what the problem was in allowing these employees to move vehicles to higher ground then return.

I did understand correctly, did I not? The request was not to go home, but just to move personal vehicles out of danger, right?

An argument of needing drivers readily has some merit, but the correct answer is a smart supervisor would not let everyone go at once, but rather in waves, so sufficient drivers were available should they be required.

I don't understand the intricate workings of the legal labrynth, nor will I underestimate the ability of lawyers to manipulate truth to suit their, or their clients needs, but as a layman, it would seem the supervisors, as agents and representatives for MTA, assumed responsibility for the safety of the employees vehicles when they refused to allow them to remove said vehicles to higher ground, perhaps off MTA property.

This could become very expensive.

I am currently free and available for jury duty if the need arises.

By: tenn.Big Dog on 12/9/11 at 7:38

Tenn. Big Dog************WELL THIS JUST SHOWS THAT THE LACK OF COMMON SENSE VS. THE REQUIRED BOOK SENSE IN ACTION. I HOPE THAT EACH VICTIM GETS $100,000. EACH FOR THEIR HEART ACHE AND STRESS.*** $50,000. FROM THE BUS COMPANY AND THE REST FROM THE DUMB ASS WHO WOULDN'T ALLOW THESE DEVOTED WORKERS THE SIMPLE TASK OF REMOVING THEIR PROPERTY FRON HARMS WAY. **IF I HAD BEEN THE SUPERVISOR IN CHARGE, I WOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING LIKE: ' OK EVERYONE GO GET YOUR VEHICLES AND GO TO THE STOCK BARNS AT THE FAIRGROUNDS AND I WILL LET OLE TOM OR WHOMEVER, DRIVE A BUS OVER THERE AND BRING YOU ALL BACK HERE AND YOU ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR THIS EMERGENCY". IF YOU DON'T DO IT THIS WAY LIKE I SAY, SINCE YOU ARE ON THE CLOCK, YOU WILL BE TERMINATED.

WHY WAS THIS HAVE BEEN UNREASONABLE?

By: bfra on 12/9/11 at 8:44

If you have ever had to deal with MTA authority, you would understand this lack of common sense. I couldn't find anyone there that had any. 1 old girl with an enormous structure of a supposedly "bee hive" hair, do didn't even know who was in charge.

By: yucchhii on 12/9/11 at 9:16

It's what you get when you deal with "CORRUPT" agancies! Your DAM RIGHT, If I want to take care of my personal belongings while I'm on your time and they are belongings that are REQUIRED to have while on YOUR time and you don't let me take care of it..."I WILL HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE!!!" The DIShonerable mayor karl DINK...NEEDS TO GO!!! He's DESTROYING THE CITY AND Y'ALL ARE "LETTING" HIM DO IT!!!

By: Kosh III on 12/9/11 at 10:14

Something doesn't add up. Was there some compelling reason they would not let them move their vehicles and the article just doesn't say?
Surely the drivers have already been trying to get compensation, I don't think it would have reached the lawsuit stage without some prior efforts to get compensation.

By: Left-of-Local on 12/9/11 at 10:15

Yet another BRILLIANT crisis-management choice by MTA. Couple this with a totally lack of an emergency operations center, and the shutting down of some of the ONLY transportation many people had, and you have an agency who really SHOULD get the bejeezus sued out of them. Hey, maybe some better planners can join up when all the clowns that chose these poor paths lose their jobs!

By: Left-of-Local on 12/9/11 at 10:17

Oh, and Yucchhii... please consult an adult learning center before attempting to type on the dang ol' innernet...

By: Kosh III on 12/9/11 at 10:18

I have had dealings with McAteer, the Planning director. He was always helpful and intelligent sounding.
But maybe he is the exception.

By: jvh2b on 12/9/11 at 10:19

I'm curious as to why most of these folks didn't have proper insurance on their cars...the older models like the 89 I can understand not having Comp/Collision on, but a 2006? That's just stupid.

Tenn - these people won't get a dime beyond the actual cash value of their cars -- there is no pain & suffering in Property Damage..and rightfully so...all this is of course only if MTA is found liable...if they refused to let them go and come back...they may well be.

yucchhii - that has to be the dumbest comment I've seen in a while, and there are some whoppers on here. Dean has NOTHING to do with that policy and you know it. If he somehow did, then it would have been city wide that employees were suing because every dept wouldn't let them go...and even to go further, the mayors office employees alone would be in this suit...but yet they aren't.

By: T-BONE on 12/12/11 at 6:27

I don't care if GOD almighty told me not to move my car...I would have done it anyway! How friggen stupid...no no no just stand there and watch it flood! Once again... STUPID!

By: Ask01 on 12/12/11 at 7:32

I understand what you are saying T - BONE, however, I can also understand the reluctance of the drivers to defy supervisors as jobs are a very valuable commodity. Most certainly, if a person was fired for leaving to move a vehicle to higher ground, they could contest the dismissal, but considering the Right To Work status enjoyed(?) by Tennesseans, the best which could be hoped for would be to mortally embarass MTA from the top down to win re instatement. Common sense, however, which seems to have been lacking that day, says we should not even have to be discussing this event.

Except for the rectal cranial inversion suffered by a supervisor, denying the opportunity to remove vehicles, the onus would have been on the owners. If they moved the vehicles, saving them from flooding, well done. If they left the vehicles in place, and they flooded, oops, bad decision.

Drivers running routes, unable to move vehicles are another story completely. TV lawyers.could hve a field day.

By: Kosh III on 12/12/11 at 7:54

I'm going to make a guess here, if someone knows better, say so.

Perhaps since the vehicles were on the property of the employer(MTA) the private insurance companies denied the claim; saying it was the responsibility of the insurance carrier for MTA.
Then MTA's insurance carrier said: no our problem; they have coverage through their private carrier.
So the drivers are fraked over by the insurance companies from both ends---what a shocker huh?

By: jvh2b on 12/12/11 at 8:07

Kosh - There is no auto insurer I know (and I'm an auto claims adjuster) that can/would deny a claim based on where a vehicle was parked. If they insured the vehicle, and had the proper coverage - it's a contract - as long as the policy was in force and the type of loss was covered, it doesn't matter where it's parked (in the US).

By: Kosh III on 12/12/11 at 3:08

jvh2b

thanks, I had hoped there was a credible answer.

btw, and off topic, but years ago when my father was an agent, his company would not pay claims if something happened in the owners driveway or property. I clearly recall an instance when a teen driver slammed into the back of another vehicle in the driveway. Glad to know that doesn't happen any more--the denial of claim, not the crazy teen driver LOL

By: Left-of-Local on 12/13/11 at 8:30

Kosh, good guess. I love how people always assume that just because insurance is not PAYING someone does not have it. Insurance companies are some of the worst and most unreliable scum in the business universe. There are vast reasons they can cite for not cashing out for clients who rack up thousands paid in.

Thanks for offering a reasonable theory, aside from "eff them, stupid people". It's refreshing to see broad thought in these comments.

By: jvh2b on 12/13/11 at 10:39

Well there are always exclusions, depending on the policy you have. Non standard is much more restrictive - but I worked for them and even they covered it if it happened at your residence...that denial is insane. Now I do remember a towing exclusion in the non-standard that it wouldn't pay if the disablement occurred at the residence...but I've paid many a claim where someone accidentally hit their own car...now mind you it's not liability but collision covg that pays it (can't be liable to yourself and all).

Left - oh please - quit watching all the daytime lawyer commercials. 99% of insurance companies pay exactly what is laid out in their contract with the insured. Everyone then whines and moans about something they didn't read before signing the bottom line be it an exclusion or some covg they thought they had but didn't have the personal responsibility to know what they were getting before they got it. It's insurance - not rocket science. Read BEFORE you buy...what a concept.

By: govskeptic on 12/13/11 at 2:23

I sure most of these less than highly paid employees only had Liability
Ins. if even that (far too many don't).! The lack of common sense, however,
by management at MTA and many other agencies is more unbelievable
than most of us can imagine. I'm also sure Metro, being self-insured) is
claiming "act of God" and not negligence on their part! That is
very shaky in this instance since the employees were asking to be able
to move those vehicles.