Woman suing CTA for viola crushed on bus - New York News

Woman suing CTA for viola crushed on bus

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A San Francisco musician is suing the CTA, claiming her viola sustained major damages when it was crushed aboard an articulated CTA bus in 2012.

Katharine Dayner was riding in the middle "turntable" section of a northbound No. 6 bus from Hyde Park to downtown with her viola in a hard wooden case on April 29, 2012, the suit claims.

When the accordion-style bus turned a corner, the turntable rotated and the instrument became lodged between the side of the bus and the metal seat rail. The case — and the instrument inside — were crushed, the suit says.

In a statement, Dayner said the incident left her "devastated."

"To a professional string player, an instrument is far more than a tool—it is an extension of who we are." She called the viola "like a family member to me" and said when she saw the damage, "I couldn't stop crying."

Dayner, a professional violist, bought the instrument from "noted instrument maker" William Whedbee in 1997, according to the suit, which claims it was valued at $15,000 before the incident.

Repairs cost $3,500, and expenses such as travel and shipping for repairs, among other things, were an additional $2,500, the suit says.

Dayner's lawyer, Kevin Case, also said two experts examined the viola and said it was at least 20 percent devalued after the repairs.

"It's just not the same," Dayner said in the statement. "It feels and sounds totally different. The viola I knew and loved is gone."

"It's like a car," Case says. "When it's been in a bad accident, even if it has been repaired, it's harder to sell and you aren't going to get as much money for it."

The suit, originally filed in July 2013, seeks $9,000 in damages.

Case says the CTA said it didn't have proof the incident happened, but he has two witness statements of the incident.

CTA also claimed the manufacturer of the bus was at fault, an argument the Circuit Court of Cook County rejected Jan. 23 when it denied the CTA's motion for summary judgment.

The CTA said Friday it was unable to comment on pending litigation.

A trial is scheduled for Feb. 28 in Courtroom 1409 at the Daley Center.

Case said he does not understand why the CTA is even fighting the suit. He said he discussed it with Forest Claypool on a bus, and the CTA chairman said he would look into.

"I even sent copies of the witness statements directly to his office. But I never heard from him," Case said.

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