Torts Keyed to Dobbs
Wassell v. Adams
Plaintiff traveled to an area just north of Chicago, Illinois to attend a graduation at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. She was staying at a motel, owned by Defendants, when she was awakened late at night by a knock on the door. Outside was a man she didn’t know, who, after some confusion, asked for a glass of water. Plaintiff allowed the man inside the room, and he sexually assaulted her. Plaintiff managed to escape, but the rapist was never prosecuted. A suspect was apprehended, but Plaintiff was too upset to provide proper identification. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Plaintiff brought suit against the Defendants alleging negligence in their failure to warn her of the dangerous conditions of the neighborhood in which the motel was located. A jury found the Defendants to be negligent, and their negligence was the proximate cause of Plaintiff’s assault. However the jury also found that Plaintiff had been negligent as well, apportioning blame 97% to Pl aintiff, and 3% to Defendants. The court of appeals, in dicta, disagreed with the jury’s apportionment, but declined to reverse. It held that the issue of apportionment was one of fact and thus properly within the purview of the jury.
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