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$________ Negligent Security – Failure of defendant landlord to repair lock to alley adjacent to building, despite complaints over a period of months – 57-year-old decedent/tenant assaulted as he is returning from shopping.

Kings County, NY

In this negligent security action, the plaintiff contended that the defendant landlord negligently failed to repair the lock of the adjacent alley gate, despite complaints over the period of several months. The plaintiff contended that as a result, an assailant probably opened the defective gate after the decedent entered with groceries, assaulted him, and ultimately caused fatal injuries.

The plaintiff’s counsel relates that the assailant was arrested, acquitted, and subsequently convicted of the murder of a different individual.

The defendant’s superintendent maintained that he checked the lock the previous day, and that it was functioning properly.

The decedent could not give a statement because of his injuries, and the incident occurred near the portion of the alley near the gate. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not rule out that the assailant had followed him into the alley, and that the condition of the lock was immaterial.

The trial court granted this motion. The plaintiff appealed, and his arguments included that since groceries were found strewn about some distance into the alley, there was sufficient evidence for the jury to infer that the assailant did not immediately follow him in, but had entered through the defective gate after the decedent had closed it.

The Appellate Division reversed the granting of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

The decedent suffered a skull fracture and subdural hematoma. He regained consciousness for approximately two hours before falling back into a coma, dying after the attack. The plaintiff contended that the pain and suffering was very significant. The defendant denied that the decedent experienced conscious pain and suffering.

The decedent left a wife and four children.The case settled at mediation for $________.

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