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$1,050,000 Settlement for Failure to Supervise Elderly


Borsai v. Somerset County Department of Transportation: The Somerset County Department of Transportation agreed to a $1.05 million settlement of a suit by an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who was left on a bus in sweltering heat for three hours.

On June 29, 1999, Michael Borsai, now 72, was one of a number of elderly residents being transported home from the All Day Care Center in Bedminster Township. The driver, James Wilson, did not see that Borsai was still seated in the rear of the bus when he drove to the department’s parking lot at about 3 p.m. By that time, the outdoor temperature had exceeded 90 degrees and it was very humid.

Wilson left the bus, but Borsai, because of the advanced state of his Alzheimer’s condition, was unable to leave the bus by himself, says his lawyer, Barry Eichen, a partner at Edison’s Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. Another Department employee spotted Borsai in the bus about three hours later.

Borsai was taken to St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick where doctors discovered that his existing vascular problems had been exacerbated by the heat and that he had developed a blood clot in a thigh. He spent three weeks in the hospital.

Wilson was fired shortly thereafter. The settlement was reached on November 30, 2001. A trial had been scheduled to begin last Monday before Somerset County Superior Court Judge Helen Hoens.

The transportation department was represented by Scott Rodgers, a partner at Somerville’s Miller Robertson and Rodgers. He did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

By: Michael Booth