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Maison v. New Jersey Transit Corp.

New Jersey Supreme Court

February 17, 2021

In Maison v. New Jersey Transit Corp., the Supreme Court reviewed a jury verdict for the plaintiff in a negligence action. In doing so, the Court was asked to determine whether, under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 to 59:12-3, the heightened duty-of-care standard governing private common carriers protects equally those people who ride on public common carriers such as NJ Transit? The plaintiff was riding an NJ Transit bus when a group of passengers harassed her, eventually throwing a bottle at her that caused a permanent scar. The driver saw the harassment but did nothing. NJ Transit insisted that it was not subject to the heightened standard of care for common carriers. The Supreme Court agreed with the Appellate Division and the Law Division in holding that NJ Transit is subject to the heightened standard of care and that the agency must “exercise the utmost caution to protect their passengers as would a very careful and prudent person under similar circumstances.”

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