The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld a $750,000 judgment awarded to a Romanian college student who was run over by a school bus in 2010 while riding a bicycle in Ogunquit.

The state’s high court, in a 7-0 decision Tuesday, rejected an appeal by Ledgemere Transportation Inc. arguing that the bicyclist should be considered liable because she rode past the bus on the right.

Monica Semian’s pelvis was crushed when she was knocked off her bike and run over by the rear wheels of the bus on the afternoon of Sept. 9, 2010, as the bus turned right from Main Street onto Berwick Road.

Semian, who was working in Maine that summer, filed her lawsuit in 2012 against the bus driver, Marcia Finley, and the Wells bus company, which does contract work for the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District.

The lawsuit accused them of negligence and sought damages for her injuries, medical expenses and suffering.

After a five-day trial in York County Superior Court, a jury initially returned a $1 million award before reducing it to $750,000 to account for Semian’s partial responsibility for the accident.

Ledgemere asked in its appeal that the high court throw out the $750,000 judgment because a section of state law says bicyclists who pass on the right do so at their own risk, and the Superior Court judge didn’t give the jury that instruction.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the section of state law cited by the bus company “does not insulate a motorist from liability under these circumstances.” It also ruled that the Superior Court judge should have given more explicit directions to the jury but that the error did not rise to the level that a new trial should have been granted.

Semian is now 24 and living in Romania again. In 2010, she was living in Wells with a group of Romanian students and working two summer jobs, at the Milestone Resort in Ogunquit and an ice cream shop in Ogunquit.

Semian underwent three surgeries at Maine Medical Center in Portland and another at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, and continued to get therapy after returning to Romania, one of her attorneys said after the jury verdict last year.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.