A jury in Compton, CA, returned a $26 million verdict in favor of the family of a 16-year old who was killed when he stood up on the top deck of an open-air, double-decker tour bus, striking his head as it drove under the Interstate 405 overpass.
Mason G. Zisette was attending a friend’s Sweet 16 party on July 10, 2014 and was one of 35 teenagers on the bus who were drinking alcohol.
Matthew and Amy Zisette, the father and mother of Mason G. Zisette, filed suit in 2015. The jury found the bus company Starline Tours of Hollywood Inc. 70 percent at fault for what happened; the girl’s parents, Jolie and Jason Schlossberg, 25 percent to blame; and Mason 5 percent responsible for his own demise.
The overpass has a vertical clearance of about 15 feet, 1 inch, while the bus is more than 14 feet tall, according to the lawsuit.
“An eyewitness driving next to the Starline bus on the 405 Freeway testified she saw the kids standing and dancing on the upper deck for 15 minutes before the accident,” plaintiff's attorney Victor L. George in Torrance, CA, told the Daily Breeze. “The kids were so loud that she could hear them yelling and singing two lanes away with her car windows rolled up.
According to the complaint, neither the bus driver, tour guide nor the Schlossbergs took any safety precautions to protect the teenagers, like telling them to sit down and put on seat belts. Instead, the Zisettes claimed, Jolie Schlossberg provided vodka to the teenagers, and the bus employees allowed them to drink and dance upstairs while traveling along the freeway.