Jury will decide whether passenger can sue impatient bus driver
Talya Rothfeld boarded a Capital Area Transportation Authority bus on the MSU campus on a nasty-weather day. After fumbling for a fare, but before she could reach the front row of seats, the driver "impatiently" accelerated rapidly, causing her to fall and strike her head. She sued for hier injuries, claiming that it was negligent for the driver to rush off, given the wet footing, before she could reach a seat. The bus authority sought summary disposition, arguing that the "usual incidents of travel" doctrine exempted the bus and its driver from responsibility for Rothfield's injury.
The Court of Appeals rejected CATA's request for summary disposition. While it recognized the "usual incidents of travel" doctrine--which exempts a common carrier from the ordinary jarring that can occur when a bus starts and stops--the Court noted that under the particular facts presented by the Plaintiff, negligence by the driver was a question of fact for the jury.