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Appellate Court Reviews $1.8M Award in Bus Assault Case

Blue city bus driving

The Incident

In 2013, the plaintiff, Anasia Maison, was harassed by a group of unruly young men during a bus ride. They directed profane comments at the plaintiff and even pelted her with objects. Maison quickly moved to a different seat after one of the teens brandished a knife in a threatening manner. She felt a momentary sense of relief when the bus stopped, and her harassers got up to disembark. But one of the teenagers threw a liquor bottle at Maison’s forehead before exiting the vehicle, leaving the plaintiff with wounds that necessitated 22 stitches.

The Lawsuit Against New Jersey Transit

After the incident, Maison filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Transit and the bus driver, Kelvin Coats. The complaint alleges that both parties have a responsibility to keep their passengers safe during bus rides. In Maison’s case, they failed to uphold this critical duty by not stopping the initial harassment and later allowing a situation where the men could throw the bottle. Coats claims that he thought the confrontation resolved itself once Maison changed seats. He never stopped the bus, removed the men, or called the police for assistance.

Attorney K. Raja Bhattacharya of Bendit Weinstock, P.A. represent the plaintiff’s interests in court. After a two-day trial, Maison was awarded $1.8 million because the defendants failed to “exercise a high degree of care in protecting the plaintiff” and “this failure proximately caused[d] plaintiff’s injuries.”

Appellate Court Sides with Bendit Weinstock, P.A.

New Jersey Transit immediately appealed the jury’s decision on several grounds. For instance, the transportation company believes that liability should be shared with the unidentified teen who threw the bottle. New Jersey Transit also asserted that the trial court erred by holding it to the heightened standards of negligence that govern common carriers.

Last July, a state appeals court reviewed case and agreed with the transit corporation’s liability assessment. However, the court rejected the company’s latter assertion and declined to change the award amount. Per the Comparative Negligence Act, a new jury is going to allocate liability between New Jersey Transit and the unidentified teenager.

Attorney Bhattacharya Makes Headlines

The status and results of this case have been featured in countless news articles posted by Associated Press, U.S. News, the New Jersey Law Journal, The Washington Times, and more. These sources all quote Attorney Bhattacharya’s statement regarding the ruling: “We are pleased that the Appellate Division determined that New Jersey Transit is a common carrier and that the Appellate Division sustained the verdict amount of $1.8 million. Today’s ruling benefits all citizens of New Jersey who ride New Jersey Transit buses and trains. We are considering our options with respect to the nature of the limited remand.”

Pursue Justice & Compensation with Our Experienced Legal Team

In New Jersey, a common carrier has a legal obligation to exercise a high degree of care when protecting its passengers from foreseeable dangers. This policy extends to buses, trains, ships, taxis, and other means of public transportation.

If you sustained severe injuries because a common carrier failed to perform this duty, contact the personal injury lawyers at Bendit Weinstock, P.A. Our firm has been representing the wrongfully injured of New Jersey since 1957. If you require legal guidance and representation, rely on a team that is committed to providing compassionate and relentless legal advocacy.

Contact Bendit Weinstock, P.A. at (973) 736-9800 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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