Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendants in Taxicab Sexual Assault Case

yellow taxi cabsAn Illinois appellate court recently issued an opinion reviewing a lower court’s ruling in a civil action involving allegations of sexual assault. Although any type of unexpected injury can be painful, stressful, and disruptive, incidents involving sexual assault are particularly damaging. This case also demonstrates how an experienced Illinois sexual assault attorney can assist you with seeking the damages that you deserve after a devastating experience while ensuring that you navigate the legal process correctly.

In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a taxicab driver who was providing her with transportation to the airport. In her complaint, the plaintiff included the driver, the taxicab dispatch company, and the company that leased a taxicab to the driver as defendants. The plaintiff appealed the matter after the lower court granted the dispatch company’s and the leasing company’s motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff also alleged that the lower court committed a reversible error by not allowing her to offer “newly discovered” evidence, which included an application for a license filled out by the driver.

The plaintiff appealed the matter after the lower court granted the dispatch company’s and the leasing company’s motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff also alleged that the lower court committed a reversible error by not allowing her to offer “newly discovered” evidence, which included an application for a license filled out by the driver.

The relevant facts of the matter are as follows. Before the assault occurred, the dispatch company and the leasing company executed a dispatch services agreement. Sometime thereafter, the leasing company and the driver executed a leasing agreement. The dispatch services agreement allowed the leasing company to use the dispatch company’s logo, contact information, and colors. According to the licensing agreement, the driver was allowed to use dispatch services through the dispatch company, payment services for patrons through the dispatch company, and routine repair and maintenance of the vehicle from the leasing company.

In its response to the plaintiff’s complaint, the leasing company alleged that there was no agency relationship between it and the driver and that his conduct was not within the scope of his occupation, even if there was an agency relationship. It also alleged that the driver should not be classified as a common carrier subject to a higher standard of care and that there was no evidence indicating that the leasing company was negligent in hiring the driver, among other things. The plaintiff responded to these contentions by stating that she had pled sufficient facts to show an agency relationship between these defendants.

On appeal, the court first addressed the plaintiff’s contention that she should have been allowed to submit newly discovered evidence regarding the driver. The appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling to exclude the evidence, finding that the plaintiff did not act promptly in acquiring the evidence or providing it to the court.

Next, the appellate court considered whether the lower court properly granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Reviewing the evidence in the record, the court concluded that there was sufficient factual evidence in the record to create a material question of fact regarding whether an agency relationship between the defendants existed at the time the assault took place. Specifically, the court noted that the plaintiff communicated with the dispatch company to arrange for her transportation, and the vehicle contained the dispatch company’s logo and contact information. The court also reversed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the plaintiff’s negligent hiring claim, noting that there was enough evidence to create a question of material fact regarding whether the leasing company was negligent in hiring the driver.

If you or someone you love has suffered an assault or other injuries as a result of negligent or reckless conduct, you may be entitled to compensation. At Therman Law Offices, our seasoned team of legal professionals offers a free consultation to help you learn about how we may be able to assist you. Call us now at 775-545-8849 or contact us online to set up your appointment.

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