An Edmonton senior who was seriously injured when she was shoved onto LRT tracks in April has filed a lawsuit against the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Transit Service.
Sharda Devi was waiting for a train at the Health Sciences/Jubilee LRT station at 83 Avenue and 114 Street at 8:20 p.m. on April 25 when she was attacked, police said.
Devi “was verbally harassed by Kendall Raine, who then physically struck her twice in the face and then again at the back of her head after which he then suddenly pushed (her) onto the train tracks,” the statement of claim alleges.
An approaching train was able to stop without hitting Devi. Police, firefighters and paramedics rescued Devi from the tracks and she was taken to the University of Alberta Hospital.
Raine was arrested the next day and is facing aggravated assault charges.
Devi released a statement, through her lawyers, Wednesday night.
“This lawsuit is about getting my life back. I never imagined I’d be spending my elderly years battling both physical and mental pain on a daily basis. There has to be a solution to this growing problem of violence on public transit. Some responsibility has to be taken by the ETS and the City of Edmonton,” she wrote.
The lawsuit states that Devi suffered 14 impacts to her health including physical injuries to her back, legs and feet. She is also suffering from anxiety, stress, nightmares and memory loss, the claim states.
“Even though she’s a senior citizen, she was employed, you know. So she can’t work anymore as a result of the incident. So she’s facing some income loss but then she’s also had to incur some growing bills. Things like modifying her house for mobility,” lawyer Basil Bansal explained to CTV News Edmonton.
Bansal believes the city and ETS were negligent in at least eight ways, including failing to have proper safety measures, failure to install proper guardrails or guard shields, and failure to properly supervise and surveill the platform.
The lawsuit seeks general, special, pecuniary and punitive damage awards totalling $1.1 million. Devi and Bansal want changes made to make transit safer in Edmonton, including more security guards and better safety barriers.
“We believe this incident could have been prevented and we certainly don’t want this to occur again,” Bansal said.
The claim also alleges that the defendants failed to “properly respond” after Devi was injured.
“The criminal incident in April was a tragedy for Ms. (Devi), and we continue to extend our condolences to her and her family,” City Solicitor Michelle Plouffe said in a statement.
“We will handle the lawsuit in accordance with normal processes and review it carefully. We cannot comment in detail on matters before the Courts.”
The lawsuit was filed on June 17 and the defendants have 20 days to respond. None of the claims have been tested or proven in court.
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