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- Lecture number:
- Lecture Note
- Cornell University
- Econ 4040 - Economics and the Law
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Lecture 23 Outline of Past Lecture I. US Outline of Current Lecture II. Kline Current Lecture Kline v. 1500 Massachusetts Avenue Apartment Corp Brief Fact Summary. Sarah B. Kline (Plaintiff) was attacked in the common hallway of Massachusetts Avenue Apartment Corp.’s (Defendant’s) apartment building. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant to recover the personal injuries she sustained. Synopsis of Rule of Law. A landlord has a duty to take steps to protect tenants from foreseeable criminal acts committed by third parties Facts. Plaintiff leased an apartment from Defendant. At the time Plaintiff first signed the lease, a doorman was on duty twenty-four hours a day and there was an employee behind the main desk at all times. Approximately seven years later, Defendant had discontinued posting a doorman, security gates were left open, and an employee was not always behind the main desk. One evening, Plaintiff was criminally assaulted and robbed outside of her apartment in the common hallway, which was under the exclusive control of Defendant. Two weeks prior, another female tenant had been similarly attack in the same hallway. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant. The district court dismissed the complaint and Plaintiff appealed. Issue. Should a duty be placed on a landlord to take steps to protect tenants from foreseeable criminal acts committed by third parties? Held. Yes. Judgment reversed. * On the premises of the apartment building in question, there had been an increase in violence, robbery, and assault crimes. The crime against Plaintiff took place in the common hallway, which is under the exclusive control of the Defendant. Certain duties have been assigned to the landlord because of his control of common hallways. The duties are the landlord’s because by his control of the areas of common use, he is the only party who had the power to make the necessary repairs or to provide the necessary protection. * The general rule, which Defendant relies upon, is that a private person does not have a duty to protect another from a criminal attack by a third person. But this rule falters when it is applied to the conditions of modern day apartment living. The landlord is not an insurer of the tenant’s safety, but he is not a bystander either. In this case, the landlord was on notice of the possibility of a criminal attack upon Plaintiff. Just two weeks prior to the assault on Plaintiff, another female Econ 4040 1st Edition
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