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Originally published May 27, 2010 at 6:21 PM | Page modified May 27, 2010 at 10:43 PM

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Jury awards Bothell couple $1.3 million after man's fall on Metro bus

A King County Superior Court jury has awarded $1.25 million to a man who alleged negligence on King County Metro Transit's part after he fell while exiting a Metro bus in downtown Seattle in 2006.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A King County Superior Court jury has awarded $1.25 million to a man who alleged King County Metro Transit was negligent after he fell while exiting a bus in downtown Seattle in 2006.

The jury also awarded $87,500 to the man's wife for the impact his injury had on her.

The verdict was returned Wednesday in favor of Keith and Judy Knappett.

Keith Knappett, a 58-year-old state worker, suffered a permanent and severe leg injury as a result of the fall, according to his attorney, Lori Haskell. Knappett, of Bothell, has been forced to use a cane and faces possible amputation of the leg, Haskell said in a written statement Thursday.

Metro spokesman Rochelle Ogershok said Thursday the agency disputed liability in the case and the amount of damages claimed by Knappett.

Ogershok said she didn't know if Metro will appeal the finding.

She said Metro disagreed with Knappett's contention that the steps were slippery because of rain that was falling at the time.

Metro noted that the steps are equipped with nonskid material, she said.

Haskell, in her statement, said Metro doesn't tell passengers that portions of the bus stairs, when wet, "become slick as compact snow."

Although Metro tests how slippery its flooring and stair treads are, it didn't test the bright yellow material on the edge of every stair, Haskell said.

Metro has not corrected the problem, Haskell said, adding that her client brought the suit to pay for medical bills and to prompt Metro to make changes to protect others.

"A jury carefully listened to all of the evidence and concluded the constant pain and disability Mr. Knappett suffers as a result of Metro's carelessness should be compensated," Haskell said in the statement. "Every aspect of his life has been altered and the jury understood that."

The injury occurred near a stop at Fifth Avenue and Pike Street about 8:20 a.m. on Oct. 24, 2006, according to Knappett's suit.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or smiletich@seattletimes.com

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