Negligent Security Case Dismissed; Court Cites Building Security Measures and Lack of Prior Incidents

In Lawyer v. City of New York, 2019 NY Slip Op 07698 (App. Div. 1st Dept. Oct. 24, 2019), the court unanimously affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s premises liability (negligent security) case.

The court stated the rule that “[a] landlord has a common-law duty to take minimal security precautions to protect tenants and members of the public from the foreseeable criminal acts of third parties.”

Applying the law, the court held:

Here, that duty was discharged by providing, inter alia, locking doors to the building in question with a buzzer and intercom system and video surveillance cameras (Batista v City of New York, 108 AD3d 484, 486 [1st Dept 2013]; Anzalone v Pan-Am Equities, 271 AD2d 307, 309 [1st Dept 2000]). In addition, defendants prima facie established through testimony regarding a lack of prior robberies or violent crimes in the building that the shooting here was not foreseeable (see Todorovich v Columbia Univ., 245 AD2d 45, 45-46 [1st Dept 1997], lv denied 92 NY2d 805 [1988]). Plaintiff’s reliance on vague testimony regarding unknown police activity at the building and speculation about drug sales, robberies, and other violent crimes is insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact. In any event, because plaintiff does not contend that the assailant was not an invited guest, any insufficiency with security precautions was not a proximate cause of the shooting.

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