Woman wins more than $12M in suit over son's train station death

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Photo credit Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A jury has awarded more than $12 million to a woman who sued the city of Long Beach and one of its police officers for negligence and wrongful death in the 2017 death of her 23-year-old son, who was pinned between a Metro train and a train platform during a confrontation with the officer.

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On Friday, the Los Angeles Superior Court panel awarded Rosa Moreno, the mother of the late Cesar Rodriguez, $12.2 million for her pain and suffering and another $6,000 in economic damages. Two days earlier, the same panel found Officer Martin Ron negligent in the confrontation with Rodriguez at the Wardlow Station of what was then known as the Metro Blue Line in Long Beach.

Attorneys for Moreno maintained that Ron intervened while Rodriguez was being given a citation by a Metro fare inspector and that the officer and Rodriguez ended up in a struggle after the decedent was asked by Ron for identification shortly after 8:45 p.m.
Aug. 29, 2017. The officer knew there was a danger of getting hit by a train if they were too close to the edge while he was searching Rodriguez, but when a train arrived Rodriguez's lower body nonetheless was caught between the train and the platform, dragging him several feet, Moreno's attorneys stated in their court papers.

Rodriguez's body twisted up to six times as he was dragged by the train and he suffered injuries that proved fatal at a hospital later that evening, Moreno's attorneys stated in their court papers.

In their court papers, defense attorneys stated that Ron was searching Rodriguez when the latter bent his knees, lowered his hips and lunged toward the tracks, pulling the officer toward the tracks as well.

Ron attempted to regain control of Mr. Rodriguez and pull him back toward the middle of the platform, but the momentum of Rodriguez's movements caused both of them to fall onto the platform and Rodriguez landed stomach-down with his legs partially hanging over the edge of the platform, the defense lawyers maintained in their court papers.

Despite Ron's efforts to pull Rodriguez's lower body back onto the platform, the northbound train struck Rodriguez, pinning his lower body between the platform and the train.

The Metro Blue Line is now the A Line.

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