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ARTICLE ID 187250

$________ CONFIDENTIAL – PREMISES LIABILITY – HAZARDOUS PREMISES – NEGLIGENT SECURITY – FAILURE TO SECURE SLIDING DOOR – ASSAILANT ENTERS THROUGH FAULTY DOOR AND FATALLY SHOOTS COLLEGE STUDENT MULTIPLE TIMES.

Withheld County, MA

In this wrongful death action, the plaintiff administrator alleged that the building landlord and property manager were negligent in breaching the warranty of habitability and in violating Chapter 93A due to the defendants’ failure to secure sliding glass doors of the apartment building, which was believed to be the method of entry used by the decedent’s killer. The defendants denied the allegations and disputed negligence.

The 22-year-old decedent was a college student who lived in off-campus housing operated by the defendant landlord and the defendant property manager. The evidence, all circumstantial, pointed to the strong likelihood that the assailant had entered through the unsecured glass sliding door which led to the balcony of her apartment unit. The decedent was shot several times in the legs and the chest.

The plaintiff alleged that the evidence demonstrated that the defendants were in breach of the warranty of habitability and also therefore in violation of Chapter 93A. The evidence was undisputed that the glass sliding doors on the apartment unit were unable to be secured against unlawful entry and violated the State’s sanitary code.

The plaintiff alleged several aggravating factors exposing the defendants to the possibility of multiple damages under Chapter 93A, as well as opening the defendants up to the possibility of an award of punitive damages on the wrongful death allegation. These included foreseeability, failure to inspect, failure to conduct security audits, improper closed circuit monitoring and failure to train the defendant’s employees in security matters. The defendants denied the allegations and pointed to the fact that the evidence against them was circumstantial at best, since no assailant had been apprehended and the case remains unsolved by the authorities.The parties agreed to mediation of the plaintiff’s claim. The matter was mediated and resolved in a confidential fashion for the sum of $________ in favor of the plaintiff.

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