HELL'S KITCHEN — The MTA has agreed to pay $1.8 million to the family of an FIT student who was fatally struck by a city bus operated by a driver who had previously been suspended for texting while behind the wheel, court records show.
The MTA had spent two years trying to fight a Manhattan jury's 2012 verdict ordering the agency to pay $1.96 million to the parents of the student, Seth Kahn.
The agency had claimed it was not to blame for Kahn's Nov. 4, 2009, death — despite the state Public Transportation Safety Board finding that the bus driver was going too fast and didn't scan the road when he ran over the student at a Hell's Kitchen intersection.
The MTA settled with Kahn's parents in July after it was about to run out of time to finalize a formal appeal of the verdict, according to court papers.
"The Transit Authority would not take responsibility for this tragedy and my husband and I endured the pain of a lengthy two-week trial, resulting in a verdict in our favor," Kahn's mother, Deborah Kahn, said in a legal filing asking a Westchester Surrogate's Court judge to approve the settlement.
"Unfortunately, the Transit Authority did not accept the jury's verdict and it filed an appeal. After obtaining two extensions of their time to finalize the appeal, and as the time had just about run out for the appeal to be finalized, the Transit Authority entered into serious settlement discussions with our attorneys."
Deborah Kahn, who lives in Mamaroneck, N.Y., said in the filing that she and her husband accepted the MTA's offer after discussing it with their lawyers.
"The settlement guaranteed our family's financial security, without any risk attached to the uncertainty of an appeal," she said in the filing. A Westchester Surrogate's Court judge approved the deal last month.
Seth Kahn was 22 when an MTA bus struck him in the crosswalk at Ninth Avenue and West 53rd Street. Driver Jeremy Philhower was making a left turn from West 53rd Street onto Ninth Avenue.
A PTSB report found that Philhower was driving at three times the speed that city buses are supposed to go when making turns. The reports also said that he did not scan the intersection for pedestrians before turning.
Philhower ran over Kahn on his first day back on the job after the MTA had suspended him for three months for texting while driving. The agency had tried to fire Philhower for the texting incident, but a contract arbitrator blocked the move, according to the Daily News. He is no longer a driver after leaving the job on a disability.
The Kahns' lawyer, Denise Dunleavy, did not respond to a request for comment.
The MTA declined to comment about the settlement.