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Inadequate security at condominium complex leads to resident’s rape

August 21, 2013

Inadequate security at condominium complex leads to resident's rape

We have handled New York personal injury matters premised on inadequate security, and are sharing a recent Personal Injury case from Florida. The plaintiff (the injured victim) was in the parking lot of her condominium complex at about 11 p.m. when a man attacked her. She initially got away from the attacker, but he followed her to her apartment, kicked in the door, raped her and fled. He was never apprehended.

Following her sexual assault, the plaintiff suffered extreme emotional distress requiring therapy. She also suffered facial bruising, nasal fractures, and arm lacerations.

She sued several defendants: the companies that owned and managed the complex, the condominium association, and the company hired to provide security. She alleged that the defendants failed to provide adequate security and ensure that the common areas were safe.

The plaintiff claimed that all of the complex’s gates, including the vehicular and pedestrian gates, were broken or non-operational at the time of the attack. This is akin to the too often problem in New York, involving broken door locks and defective security systems.

The Florida plaintiff also asserted that security guards patrolled the area only on a random basis, not 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as stated on posted signs at the complex. The plaintiff contended that given the area’s high crime rate, the defendants should have ensured that the gates were functioning, the patrols were continuous, and other security measures were adequate. In addition, the plaintiff asserted that the management company had instructed the security company to not provide any security services to the residents.

The defendants argued that the attack was unforeseeable. They also blamed the victim, saying that she saw the assailant in a common area behind the complex earlier that day but failed to notify police. Incredibly, in this writer’s opinion, the security company argued that it was hired to protect the property from vandalism, not to ensure residents’ safety. Finally, notwithstanding the underlying rape, the defendants disputed the extent of the victim’s psychological injuries.

The plaintiff achieved some measure of civil justice, after the security company settled before trial; and a jury then awarded significant damage award against the remaining defendants. We hope that this successful lawsuit will inspire the defendants to better protect their residents, and we fervently hope that the plaintiff’s physical and emotional wounds will heal.

To discuss negligent security, or any other Personal Injury matter, please contact Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. – New York Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Attorneys. (800) 427-9546

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