Sometimes in reading an appellate court's decision that reverses a lower court's ruling, you can only wonder what the lower court was thinking when it issued its ruling.

Flynn v. Esplanade Gardens, Inc. is precisely one such case.

In this instance, the plaintiff sued his landlord to recover damages for the personal injuries he suffered when his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend apparently beat him up quite badly. If you were wondering how or why the landlord of the plaintiff's building should be responsible for this, you're not alone; New York's Appellate Division, First Department wondered the same thing.

And, in concluding that the defendant-landlord could not be held liable for negligent security for this particular act, it stated as follows:

"In this case ... there is no evidence that [the defendant] had any reason to be suspicious of either individual involved in the incident (Smith, a frequent visitor whom plaintiff had welcomed to the building many times, and Mulligan, her companion).  ... In sum, under the precedents of this Court, it is well settled that a targeted attack on a resident of an apartment building does not give rise to liability on the part of the landlord for a failure to provide security. Plainly, the targeted attack in this case -- evidently involving the settling of a score over an abortive romance -- calls for the application of this rule. "


Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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