Happy Halloween! There are many instances of Halloween antics giving rise to litigation. As one (admittedly old) example, consider Daniels v. Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, 689 N.Y.S.2d 463, 464, 261 A.D.2d 115, 115 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept. 1999), in which the plaintiff sued a bus operator after being “struck in the left eye by a hard-boiled egg thrown through an open bus window by a masked Halloween miscreant.”
Plaintiff lost; the First Department reversed the lower court’s denial of summary judgment.
Specifically, the court explained, under the circumstances the bus operator “had no duty to protect plaintiff from the unanticipated riotous acts of third persons emanating from outside the bus.” Furthermore:
Completely absent from this case … is the element of foreseeability. There is not a shred of evidence in the record showing that there had been any prior egg-throwing incidents directed at MABSTOA buses on Halloween, or any similar incidents involving objects being hurled at vehicles in general[.] … Likewise, there is no evidence that the defendant’s driver knew or should have known that such an occurrence was imminent. Since MABSTOA was unaware of any foreseeable risk of dangers to its passengers, a duty to warn them or to take other preventive measures never arose[.] … Plaintiff’s assumption that an egg-throwing attack directed at a MABSTOA bus on Halloween is so common as to always be foreseeable is without merit.
Have fun, but be careful out there!