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Federal judge goes to the videotape, dismisses lawsuit

Sounding like a National Football League referee reviewing a play, a federal judge in Greenbelt has thrown out a woman’s $150,000 negligence claim against Metrobus after viewing a videotape that showed she fell and broke her wrist on her own.

Tonya Hall, of Capitol Heights, claimed the driver closed the door on her as she was getting off the bus in March 2012, forcing her to the ground. But U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm said the video, taken by a security camera on the bus, belied that allegation.

Grimm granted the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority’s motion for summary judgment in a published memorandum opinion and order Wednesday.

The video “clearly shows that the doors did not shut on Plaintiff or cause her to fall,” Grimm wrote. “[W]hen video evidence, the authenticity and accuracy of which is not challenged, clearly discredits one party’s portrayal of the facts, a jury is not needed to decide the matter. Simply put, … no reasonable jury would believe Plaintiff’s version of the facts when the jurors could see the event for themselves on video.”