- The Washington Times - Monday, April 8, 2002

A D.C. court has ruled against a former attorney for Metro who sought medical damages after asking an employee to open and close a bus door on her several times to prove it was safe.
Janet Rubin Landesberg, an 11-year staff attorney for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, claimed in a lawsuit that she sustained injuries to her lower back, shoulders and neck, in addition to other ailments, when she voluntarily sandwiched herself repeatedly between the doors of a Metro bus on Jan. 17, 1990.
Mrs. Landesberg, now a judge in Harrisburg, Pa., said she was conducting research in order to defend Metro in court against people who claimed to have been injured by faulty bus doors.
Metro provided disability pay for her time off but refused to extend and include disability payments for time off because of reaggravation of her neck injury.
In the original 1996 lawsuit, Mrs. Landesberg claimed damages for injuries suffered in the bus door incident and two later accidents in 1992: a back injury she suffered after misstepping down from a jury box and problems aggravated a few months later when a falling suitcase struck her in the head and shoulders aboard an airport shuttle bus.
The court backed Mrs. Landesberg's right to medical benefits in connection with the two incidents in 1992, but tossed out claims related to the earlier bus door incident.
Court of Appeals Chief Judge Annice Wagner, who wrote the ruling handed up last week, said the justices disagreed with an earlier finding by the director of the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) that Metro was responsible for the injuries to Mrs. Landesberg's neck.
The three judges denied other claims in the case, including one for extended disability for her shoulder injuries and one for symptoms of post-traumatic depression.
The ruling said Metro dismissed many of her additional claims for disability, as did the Department of Employment Services which is named as a defendant in the appeal because of lack of credible and persuasive evidence.
Metro's arbiter in the case cited several instances in which Mrs. Landesberg's treatments were "more than excessive."
Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the company is happy with the ruling.
"We have looked it over with our lawyers and we believe the court of appeals upheld the position of the DOES director, which was for the most part our position," Mrs. Farbstein said.
Nine years after filing her lawsuit, Mrs. Landesberg told The Washington Times that she has moved on with her life.
She said she was forced to quit Metro because of retaliation by management. Ironically, she was named Metro Employee of the Year in 1992.
She is now an administrative law judge in Harrisburg. She declined to comment on the case "because of her position on the bench."
But she did tell The Times, "I would prefer closure on the issue after this extended period of protracted litigation.
"However, a mere reading of the opinion without seeing more of the record would not provide you with insight on this issue."

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