Monday, November 11, 2013

Santiago v. First Student, Inc. case brief

Santiago v. First Student, Inc. case brief summary
839 A.2d 550 (2004)

Plaintiff school bus passenger appealed a decision of the Providence County Superior Court (Rhode Island), which granted summary judgment to defendant bus company in the passenger's action for negligence in which she claimed that she was injured in a phantom bus crash with an unidentified car on an unknown date at an unspecified location with no witnesses.


The passenger, who at the time was in the eighth grade, claimed that while she was riding home on one of the bus company's buses, she was injured when the bus collided with an unidentified vehicle. The passenger could not remember the street or the neighborhood where the accident occurred. Police did not respond to the accident and consequently, there was no police report. The passenger did not see the collision occur and was unable to offer any details about it. The trial court held that the passenger had failed to provide any evidence of the bus company's negligence, and on appeal the court agreed.


  • The court held that to assign negligence to the bus company based on the evidence in the record would have impermissibly crossed the line from reasonable inference and ventured into the realm of rank speculation. 
  • The passenger's tenuous description of the accident left the bus company virtually unable to conduct discovery. 
  • The passenger failed to meet her burden on the bus company's motion for summary judgment.

The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

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