This case was based on the non-delegable duty of a building owner to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the premises. Plaintiff was a resident who had a fleeting sexual relationship with two women. The women saw a bag of white powder they concluded was cocaine (but was actually cassava flour) in the apartment. The two returned with three male accomplices who gained entry to the building utilizing what plaintiff alleged was a defective exterior door lock. After plaintiff partially opened his apartment door to the women, the women and their male accomplices pushed in, beat and kicked plaintiff and shot him. Plaintiff suffered very substantial injuries, hospitalization and surgeries. He still had substantial residual incapacities and disfigurement.
Our landlord client had no insurance and had very substantial assets at risk. Bronx juries are known for awarding multimillion-dollar verdicts in similar cases. Throughout the litigation we advised the client that if we did not win summary judgment, we would have to consider a substantial settlement offer.
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. invested a great deal of time in drafting a motion for summary judgment, significantly more than most cases. Our papers stressed that our client’s security measures, which included a functioning lock and intercom system, were appropriate for the circumstances. Additionally, our papers argued that there was no reason to anticipate the intervening criminal acts of third paties, and the admission of the robbers to the apartment was plaintiff’s own act. As a result, plaintiff concluded that he had no viable way to oppose the motion and voluntarily stipulated to the dismissal of the action with prejudice (for most lawyers, a once-or-twice-in-a-career event).
The case was handled at the trial court level by Colin Kaufman. The motion was drafted by Jeffrey Metz with assistance from Joanna C. Peck and Colin Kaufman.