Maine jury awards Romanian student $750,000

Press release, Oct. 8, 2013

ALFRED, Maine - A jury in York County, Maine, has awarded $750,000 to a 23-year-old Romanian woman who was run over by a school bus while she was riding her bicycle in the summer of 2010.

Monica Semian was riding from her job at a hotel to her second job at an ice cream shop on Sept. 9, 2010, in the town of Ogunquit. She was struck on Route 1 by a school bus making a right hand turn. She suffered a crushed pelvis and other serious injuries requiring multiple surgeries. Semian sued the bus company, Ledgemere Transportation, Inc.

On Oct. 4, 2013, following a five-day trial at York County Superior Court, the jury returned a verdict in Semian's favor. The jury initially awarded $1 million, but reduced the figure to $750,000 because Semian conceded that she was partially responsible. The jury agreed that the driver was mostly at fault, and should not have turned in front of the cyclist.

"I am very grateful to the jury," said Semian, who came to the U.S. hoping to earn enough money to buy a camera and pursue her dream of becoming a photojournalist. She and several other Romanian college students came to work in Maine during the summer of 2010. "I feel vindicated and now I can finally pay my medical bills, which are more than $200,000."

Semian was represented by attorneys Terry Garmey and Gary Goldberg of Terry Garmey & Associates, and Christiana Mann of Peter Thompson & Associates.

"I am so happy for Monica, she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. It took a lot of courage for her to come back to the United States to testify, and to see the bicycle she was riding when she was so badly hurt," Goldberg said.

Attorney Terry Garmey said: "By returning a $1 million verdict and reducing it to $750,000 for Monica's own responsibility, the jury showed they understood the case and wanted justice served in York County, even for an exchange student from Romania."

Semian lives in her home country of Romania. Although she has endured multiple surgeries and still suffers from flashbacks three years after the incident, she is determined to move on and pursue her dream of becoming a photojournalist. More than anything, Semian hopes to photograph Kathmandu, Nepal and Alaska.