A D.C. Superior Court jury has awarded $500,000 in damages to a Washington taxicab driver who was assaulted at Union Station in 1973 by an employee of the Penn Central Transportation Co.
The jury reached its decision Thursday after four hours of deliberation, according to David Epstein, an attorney who represented the plaintiff, Arthur Z. Reddick, now 33.
In making the award, the jury determined that Penn Central was liable for the damages because its employee was acting in furtherance of Penn Central business when the assault occurred, Epstein said.
Daniel V. S. McEvily, who represented Penn Central, said the railroad intends to appeal.
Reddick went to Union Station at 10:30 p.m. Jan. 8, 1973, to use a restroom, according to Epstein. As Reddick got out of his cab, Epstein said, the Penn Central employee, who was dressed in work clothes and carried a lantern, demanded that Reddick take him immediately to the railroad freight yard in Alexandria.
Reddick, who lives in Northeast Washington, agreed to take the man to Alexandria, but said he wanted to use the restroom first, Epstein said. As Reddick headed toward the main entrance to Union Station, the employee ran after him and a fight ensued, Epstein said.
According to Epstein, Reddick's right leg was broken during the incident. Reddick was subsequently hospitalized four times and suffers permanent disability of his leg that prevents him from working full time, Epstein said.
Reddick, who earned $12,000 in 1972 as a full-time cab driver, had a total income of about $2,000 during the three years after the incident, Epstein said. Reddick's wife, Judy, who also was a party to the suit against the railroad company, testified during the four-day trial that she took a year off from calss at D.C. Teachers College, where she had been a student and worked at various jobs to support the family, Epstein said. He said the Reddicks have two young sons.
In September, 1974, Reddick was an unsuccessful candidate from ward seven in the D.C. City Council primary.
During the trial, before D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert A. Shuker, the railroad argued that the employee was on personal - not company - business when the assault occurred, according to McEvily.