In October 1999, Hollie Williams (plaintiff) and her roommate were assaulted by a man with a gun in a dorm room the two shared in a residence hall on the campus of Utica College (Utica) (defendant). The man wore a bandana and bound Williams and her roommate before leaving. Neither Williams nor her roommate were able to identify the attacker, who remains anonymous. Williams eventually filed a negligence action against Utica, claiming that Utica had negligently failed to protect residents of the residence hall from intruders. Utica sought to dismiss the claim on summary judgment, arguing in part that Williams had failed to show that any negligence by Utica had caused Williams’s injury. The district court granted the motion, and Williams appealed the decision.