BART Settles with Oscar Grant's Mom for $1.3M

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on June 30, 2011 6:43 AM

The recent Oscar Grant settlement of $1.3 million has been made with Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother. The decision of San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to settle with the family, however, is not an admission of guilt by the transit agency.

Grant, 22, was killed on a BART train platform on January 1, 2009. The responding BART officers had gone to the station after there were reports of a fight, reports CBS News.

Grant was unarmed and lying face-down on the station when he was shot by former BART officer Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle said he thought he was reaching for his Taser, not his gun.

Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served 11 months of a 2-year sentence, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Bart had also recently settled with Tatiana, Grant's then 5-year-old daughter, for $1.5 million last year, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The two settlements bring the total payout from BART up to $2.8 million over Grant's death. It also ends the two wrongful death and civil rights lawsuits that were filed by attorney John Burris on behalf of Grant's family members, reports CBS News.

BART's attorney said that the agency made no admissions of liability or constitutional violations when coming to the settlement, CBS News reports.

And, the $2.8 million total payout is only a small fraction of what the Grant family had originally sought: $50 million. How did they come to that conclusion? In wrongful death cases, a variety of factors can go into the calculation of what to compensate families for the loss of a member.

The major component is calculating the pecuniary (monetary) loss accompanying the loss of the family member. This includes loss of wages, services, and loss of support. Loss of parental guidance can also factor in.

The Oscar Grant settlement might not be the last - BART will start settlement conferences with Grant's father and six of Grant's friends who say they were mistreated by police before and after the shooting, reports CBS News. Will BART settle with these plaintiffs as well? It remains to be seen.

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