Sharpe v. Peter Pan Bus Lines

401 Mass. 788 (1988)

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Sharpe v. Peter Pan Bus Lines

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
401 Mass. 788 (1988)

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Facts

Sharon Lee Glynn was stabbed to death by Patrick Werner while waiting with her friends to board a bus operated by Peter Pan Bus Lines at the Springfield bus terminal (collectively, the bus companies) (defendants). Glynn had never met Werner, and the stabbing was unprovoked. After the stabbing, Werner fled the scene, hid from police, and hid the knife he used to kill Glynn. The bus terminal was located in an area with substantial criminal activity. Despite having to make weekly calls to police for security problems and being aware of the need for security, the bus companies did not have their own security guards. Alfred Sharpe (plaintiff), the administrator of Glynn’s estate, sued the bus companies for negligence. An expert testified at trial that uniformed security guards were the best crime deterrents and that a uniformed security guard probably could have prevented the stabbing. A jury found that the bus companies’ negligence was the cause of Glynn’s death and awarded damages for wrongful death. The bus companies appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilkins, J.)

Dissent (Lynch, J.)

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