The Metropolitan Transit Authority, responsible for running New York City’s subways and buses, is attempting to dodge responsibility and pin a $30-million award on a homeless man.
In 2012, Naeem Davis, described as “homeless” and “a drifter” by the New York Post, pushed Ki Suck Han in front of a subway train. Arguing that he was only defending himself, Davis was acquitted by a jury just last year. Notably, Davis was too poor to afford an attorney for the murder charge.
Still looking for justice, Ki Suck Han’s family then went after the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The family filed a “wrongful death” lawsuit against the state agency. In short, the family argued that the train operator should have stopped earlier, before Davis had the opportunity to push Han in front of the Q train. According to the family’s attorney, “Just because someone is on the tracks, you can’t run them over and kill them and say it’s not our fault. Davis pushed him, Transit killed him.”
The jury in the case agreed and returned a verdict of $30 million to be payed by the MTA. Now, the MTA says that it should not be held responsible for the jury verdict. Instead, the MTA is seeking Davies to indemnify it for the award. Indemnification is when one party, deemed more responsible for the damage, is held legally responsible for a verdict. In this situation, the government agency is attempting to show that the intoxicated homeless person who pushed him is responsible and not the train conductor who, after seeing the fight, failed to stop the subway in time.
Unfortunately, holding Davis responsible would certainly mean the family will never receive compensation for their horrific loss. In addition to being homeless, Davis was also completely unaware of the legal proceedings between the MTA and Ki Suck Han’s family. In the words of Davis’s attorney, “Why should he be responsible for something that happened while he was defending himself against a verbal assailant?”
When asked for comment by the New York Post, the MTA declined.