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A utility is required to exercise reasonable care to use such means of protection as are available, or to provide such means in advance because of the likelihood that third persons may endanger the safety of patrons.
Appellant victim was attacked at the transit system's station. Appellant brought a diversity action, alleging that the appellees, transit authority and city, were negligent because of deficient lighting on the station platform and insufficient attention to conditions by the only employee on the premises. A jury awarded damages against the transit system, but the district court entered j.n.o.v. and found that the transit authority had no reason to anticipate the criminal conduct of the assailant at this station. Appellant challenged the decision.
Could the appellant victim recover damages from the carrier on the basis of the latter’s negligence?
On appeal, the court held that the duty to protect the victim was determined by the reasonable foreseeability of any criminal activity its station, not just from that particular assailant. Whether insufficient maintenance of safety measures by the transit authority was negligent, particularly in view of the transit authority's knowledge that crime had been increasing in the transit system, was a jury question. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment from the district court in favor of the transit authority and city, and reinstated the verdict in favor of the appellant victim.