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Court affirms dismissal of claim against city bus driver who struck motorist

Ben McKenzie sued the City of Detroit and its bus driver after a traffic altercation that ended with him being struck by a bus.  He claimed that the bus driver negligently prevented his car from exiting his parallel parked location.  The bus driver claimed that he attempted to pull into traffic without warning and blocked her lane.

In any event, McKenzie stepped out of his vehicle to swear at the bus driver, and her bus struck McKenzie and his car door in the process of attempting to move around him.  He argued she was guilty of striking him intentionally or at least with gross negligence; she argued she was guilty of ordinary negligence at worst.  The trial judge ruled heard the testimony in a bench trial, concluded that McKenzie lacked credibility, and ruled in the bus driver's favor.  He appealed.

The Court of Appeals reviewed the basis for the trial judge's findings and concluded that no error had occurred.  It noted that it is required to "give deference to" the fact finder's assessment of credibility and that there was ample foundation for the judge's conclusions.  The Defense judgment was affirmed.

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