Landlord Not Responsible for Her Son's Attack on Tenant's Boyfriend
LVT Number: #32072
Tenant's boyfriend was injured during an altercation with tenant's brother that occurred on the stairway outside tenant's apartment. The boyfriend then sued landlord, who lived in the building's basement apartment and was the mother of tenant and tenant's brother. Tenant claimed that landlord failed to take minimal security precautions to protect him from foreseeable harm, including injury caused by the reasonably foreseeable criminal acts of third parties.
Landlord asked the court to dismiss the case without trial and said she had no reason to anticipate that the brother would assault the boyfriend. There was no proof that the brother had a prior history of physical violence toward the boyfriend or anyone else.
Tenant pointed out that the brother had broken into tenant's apartment about six months earlier while she was away because he believed he had a right to use a room in the unit.
The court ruled for landlord and dismissed the case. Landlord's knowledge of the break-in incident was insufficient to raise a factual issue as to the foreseeability of the brother's attack on the boyfriend. Landlord also showed that the outer door to the building had a working lock, and that the brother didn't have a key to the premises at the time of the assault. The boyfriend made no showing that the brother used a key to gain entrance or that the security measures in place were otherwise deficient.
Johnson v. Cummings: Index No. 36392/17, App. No. 16026, Case No. 2021-01017, 2022 NY Slip Op 03445 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 5/26/22; Manzanet-Daniels, JP, Kapnick, Shulman, Rodriguez, Pitt, JJ)