Question of Fact Whether ”Intervening Criminal Act” at Homeless Facility Was Foreseeable
The First Department determined there was a question of fact whether an attack by one resident upon another resident of a facility for disabled homeless people was foreseeable:
Triable issues of fact exist as to whether defendants, the owner and operator of a transitional facility for disabled homeless people, breached their common-law duty to provide reasonable security measures to protect plaintiff’s decedent from foreseeable harm … . The fatal attack on decedent by a fellow resident was immediately preceded by two prior physical attacks, by the same resident, and police officers responding to the earlier attacks had told defendants’ staff members to keep the two residents apart.
In light of the conflicting testimony as to the perpetrator’s demeanor prior to the final attack and whether defendants were on notice of his alleged threat to continue the attack on decedent, it is for a jury to determine whether a further attack was foreseeable. The fact that defendants may not have been able to “anticipate the precise manner of the [attack] or the exact extent of injuries. . .does not preclude liability as a matter of law where the general risk and character of injuries are foreseeable” … . Furthermore, while unforeseeable and intentional criminal acts by third parties are supervening acts which sever the causal connection with any alleged negligence … , here, “the alleged intervening criminal act is itself the foreseeable harm that shapes the duty [of care sought to be] imposed” … . Corporan v Barrier Free Living Inc., 2015 NY Slip Op 08351, 1st Dept 11-17-15