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U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee

This was a negligence matter in which the female plaintiff, a passenger on a Greyhound bus, contended that the defendant bus company was negligent in failing to provide adequate security. As a result, a mentally unstable passenger attacked the bus driver causing the bus to overturn, killing and injuring many of the passengers. The defendant maintained that the incident was unforeseeable.

The 56-year-old plaintiff was a passenger on a Greyhound bus that was traveling from Chicago to Orlando on October 3, ________, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As the bus was traveling on Route I-24 through Kentucky, one of the passengers, a male Croatian, started behaving strangely, causing the driver and other passengers to become apprehensive. Testimony established that he got up and began pacing the aisle on the bus, making menacing remarks to the passengers and driver. The plaintiff was seated in the fourth row of the bus and was sleeping at the time of this incident. The Croatian man, suddenly and without warning, took a box cutter from his pocket and attacked the bus driver, cutting his throat and grabbing the steering wheel. These actions caused the bus to strike the median and flip over, landing on its side. The attacker and seven other passengers were killed in the incident. The plaintiff was ejected from the bus and sustained a fracture of the T-1,T-2 discs in her spine. She also suffered broken ribs, leg injury and head trauma. As a result of the spinal fracture, she was rendered a complete paraplegic.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant bus company claiming that they failed to provide adequate security on the bus for both the driver and the passengers. The plaintiff alleged that there was no partition to protect the driver from enraged passengers, such as the one who attacked the driver on the subject bus. The plaintiff further alleged that there was no security evident on the bus, especially in light of the recent terrorist activities in the country.

The defendant maintained that the event was unforeseeable, and denied that it had a duty to provide additional security measures.

At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. The jury awarded the plaintiff the sum of $________ in damages.

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