The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a verdict in a case where a bus driver was attacked by a knife-wielding passenger, resulting a bus crash that resulted in several injuries and the death of the bus driver. A trial resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff passenger.
First, the defendant challenged the admissibility of plaintiff’s experts; the Court of Appeals found no error in permitting the experts to testify.
Second, the defendant argued that prior incidents should not have been admitted into evidence. This is the Court’s ruling on this point:
"In the case at bar, Plaintiff sought to introduce evidence of prior incidents on Defendant’s buses to show Defendant had been on notice of incidents likely to lead to the kind of injury suffered by Plaintiff. Plaintiff suffered injury when Defendant’s driver lost control of the bus after being attacked by another passenger on the bus, and after that passenger attempted to take control of the wheel. The prior incidents admitted by the district court were substantially similar to the October 3, 2001 incident because they involved either passenger interference with the bus driver, or a passenger’s attempt to take control of the bus’s steering wheel or brakes. Those incidents therefore occurred under “similar circumstances” or “share the same cause” as the October 3, 2001 incident."
There are several other points raised in the opinion, but these are the most important ones.
The case is Surles v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., Nos. 05-6713/6743 (6th Cir. January 18, 2007). Read it here.