Landlord Liability

On March 5, 2012, in Landlord-Tenant, Personal Injury, by Robbie L. Vaughn, Esq.

Landlord Liability

In a recent case involving landlord liability, Brathwaite v. New York City Hous. Auth., 2012 NY Slip Op 1422 – NY: Appellate Div., 2nd Dept. 2012, the Court ruled that The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) was not liable for injuries the plaintiff sustained when he was assaulted inside the apartment of his girlfriend.

The court acknowledges that landlords have a common-law duty to take minimal precautions to protect tenants and their guests from the reasonably foreseeable criminal conduct of third parties. However, the court finds that NYCHA was not the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries.

Here is part of the Court’s reasoning:

Moreover, and contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, both NYCHA and American established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that any negligence on their part was not a proximate cause of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed that security was inadequate because NYCHA and American failed to repair a broken lock on the entrance to the building. However, the plaintiff testified at his deposition that the two locks on the door to Patsy’s apartment were functioning on the day in question. He further testified that he did not know how Glenn entered the apartment prior to the assault, that he and Patsy may have left the door unlocked when they entered earlier that day, and that Glenn may have had a key in any event. There was no testimony or documentary evidence arising from the investigation of the incident which suggested that Glenn had forcibly entered the apartment, or that he gained access other than through the front door. Thus, even if Glenn entered the building of his own accord because of the inoperative lock, he could not have gained access to the interior of the apartment where the assault occurred unless, as had been done on prior occasions, a family member let him in, furnished him with a key, or left the door unlocked.

Mineola Personal Injury Attorneys

As always, The Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC is here to assist you with your Personal Injury or Landlord-tenant matters. Contact us at (516) 858-2620 to arrange a consultation.

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