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Our client suffered significant injuries in bus roll-over accident in Nairobi, Kenya. Our client was a 26-year-old woman traveling abroad. She booked her trip through a nationally recognized travel agent and trip coordination company. The bus that crashed was operated by this company abroad. Despite the difficulties in trying to hold a company responsible for conduct that occurred in another country, we took on the case. The roll-over accident took place in an isolated area outside of Kenya due to a tire blowout. Three people were killed, and our client suffered multiple fractured ribs, fractured pelvis requiring surgical reconstruction and internal bleeding requiring surgical repair.
The defense argued that there was no liability because the driver encountered a sudden emergency and did nothing wrong despite the tragic outcome. Our Sacramento & Elk Grove-based attorney, John M. O'Brien found evidence of shoddy maintenance leading to the tire blowout and also countered with the fact that the driver fled the scene immediately afterward without providing aid to any of the injured victims. The defense also argued that the terms of the travel company’s “booking conditions” contained a forum selection clause in Sydney, Australia that would force the case to move to that location or that the federal court here would have to apply Australian law, which is considerably less favorable on damages than California law. We argued that the clause was unenforceable because the booking conditions did not accompany the original contract but were simply “made available online.” The case resolved at mediation for a confidential sum before the court ruled on this jurisdiction and choice of law issue.