The Second Department determined that out-of-possession landlords (AYT and 6010) could not be held liable for an assault by employees and patrons of the tenant restaurant, even though the landlords maintained offices adjacent to the rented property:
An owner is obligated to take reasonable precautionary measures to minimize the risk of criminal acts and make the premises safe for visitors when the owner is aware, or should be aware, that there is a likelihood of conduct on the part of third parties that would endanger visitors (…see generally Restatement [Second] of Torts: Negligence § 344). To establish that criminal acts were foreseeable, the criminal conduct at issue must be shown to be reasonably predictable based on the prior occurrence of the same or similar criminal activity at a location sufficiently proximate to the subject location … .
However, an out-of-possession landlord is not liable for injuries that occur on the leased premises due to the criminal acts of third parties unless it has retained control over the premises or is contractually obligated to provide security … . Here, the defendants … established, prima facie, that they were out-of-possession landlords, and that they did not retain control over the premises and were not contractually obligated to provide security. The mere fact that Sam Fridman, the principal of AYT, had an office “right next door” to the subject premises for approximately 15 years prior the incident, and Abraham Sprei, the principal of 6010, maintained a plumbing business adjacent to the premises, was not sufficient to create a triable issue of fact as to whether AYT and 6010 retained control of the premises Tambriz v PGK Luncheonette Inc, 2015 NY Slip Op 00356, 2nd Dept 1-14-15