Mullins v. Pine Manor College

449 N.E.2d 331, 389 Mass. 47 (1983)

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Mullins v. Pine Manor College

Massachusetts Supreme Court
449 N.E.2d 331, 389 Mass. 47 (1983)

Facts

Lisa Mullins (plaintiff) was a first-year student at Pine Manor College (defendant), a small private college for women in Massachusetts. The college campus was surrounded by fencing, and the dormitories were typically locked. Each student had a key to access their dormitory building and their room. After midnight each night, the college had two guards on duty, one stationed at the main entrance to the college and one who patrolled the campus and ensured that all gates and doors to the dormitories were locked. As a first-year student, Mullins was required by the college to live on campus. One night after Mullins had been out with friends, she was awakened in her dorm room by an unknown intruder who raped Mullins. Mullins filed a lawsuit against the college and its vice president for operations, William Person (defendant), to recover damages for her injuries. A jury issued a verdict in favor of Mullins for $175,000, though the trial court reduced the verdict against the college to $20,000. The college and Person moved for a directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict, which the trial court denied. The college and Person appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Liacos, J.)

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