Legal Question in Discrimination Law in Indiana

Ejected from a Greyhound Bus

My 20 year old daughter was taking a trip on a Greyhound bus, going from AZ to NY. She was traveling with her 2 children, age 1 1/2 and 2 1/2. When she got to Terre Haute, IN, the bus driver made the 3 of them get off the bus because someone had complained about the babies crying. The bus depot was going to close for awhile, and she had nowhere to go but to a church, that luckily was located across the street, to wait for the next bus. The bus driver did not even leave her luggage for her! She had only the carry on bags she had brought on the bus. Greyhound customer service offered only a letter of apology, and said it takes 2 to 4 weeks for them to investigate the situation. She was extremely distressed by this. Is she entitled to any compensation for this? It seems the least they could do is pay her back for her tickets, but they only offered the letter of apology. This is outrageous!

Asked on 11/14/02, 12:52 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Re: Ejected from a Greyhound Bus

I can empathize with your daughter. When I was 19, I was put off a grayhound bus for hiding a cat in my bag, and of course, it eventually made its presence known somewhere in New Mexico!

Your daughter probably does not have a discrimination claim unless she was put off the bus because of race or color, age, national origin, gender, disability, etc. However, when she bought tickets for herself and her children, she entered into a contract for services - i.e. that the bus deliver them all safely to her destination. You may have a breach of contract claim.

This isn't my area of law (I do discrimination and other mediation), so you might want to ask this question again in a different section of LawGuru having to do with contract claims or transportation law.

If your daughter decides to do something herself, one option is small claims court, if the damages she seeks are $10,000 or under. Your daughter would just go to the nearest justice court and file a claim. The clerks there can assist her. I think it will cost her about $40.

If you'd like to be referred to a real live lawyer who does this sort of thing, feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to help you find someone you can trust near you. Good luck!

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Answered on 11/14/02, 1:54 am
C. David DuMond Law Offices of David DuMond

Re: Ejected from a Greyhound Bus

I agree, this is outrageous, and will probably qualify as the Outrage of the Day (though it's early yet.) However, off the top of my head, I can't think of any specific anti-discrimination statute violated by Greyhound. Ordinarily, your daughter would have a good claim for breach of contract, with punitive damage potential in a private civil case. But I'm not sure your daughter would even have a satisfying civil remedy, since interstate transportation companies get all sorts of protection against outraged consumers on account of federal laws and regulations. But see if an attorney located in the state of your daughter's residence would consider the case. You might try registering your complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Department of Justice

Civil Rights Division

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

And also bring this to the attention of your Congressional representatives, House and Senate. They would probably enjoy cuffing Greyhound around a little. Good luck.

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Answered on 11/14/02, 7:27 am

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