A Mississippi Supreme Court ruling will allow one Mississippi woman to sue the apartment complex where she was raped. MPB's Alexis Ware reports the woman had previously signed an arbitration clause.
A former tenant has been given approval for her day in court in a case against an apartment complex and a security company. The woman, who is identified in court papers only as Jane Doe, was kidnapped and sexually assaulted in the parking lot of the complex where she lived. Matt Steffey is a professor of law at Mississippi College School of Law. He says the particular language used in this arbitration clause made way for the court to rule against it.
"While it may have covered any disputes about rent and the apartment and the appliances perhaps and so on things that had to do with the condition of the apartment or the terms of the rent, it did not cover an assault in the parking lot."
Mittie Williams is a therapist at the Jackson Rape Crisis Center. She says rape survivors can benefit by seeking justice.
"The victims' rights are so important in that they have an opportunity to precede into a legal charge against the perpetrator. It does help the healing process and bring closure when a person is found guilty and a conviction is made.
Steffey says the ruling is not likely to change the binding nature of arbitration clauses and will likely lead companies to create stricter clauses.