The Second Department determined the defendants (the building owner, the building manager, and the security company) were not entitled to summary judgment in this wrongful death case stemming from a shooting in the building. Although the specific crime, i.e., the shooting of plaintiff’s decedent, may not have been foreseeable by the defendants, the relevant question was whether the building’s door security was deficient and was therefore a concurrent factor in shooting:
… [U]nder this Department’s jurisprudence, “[t]he test in determining summary judgment motions involving negligent door security should . . . not focus on whether the crime committed within the building was ‘targeted’ or ‘random,’ but whether or not, and to what extent, an alleged negligently maintained building entrance was a concurrent contributory factor in the happening of the criminal occurrence” … .
… [W]hile the precise nature and manner of [the shooter’s] crime could not necessarily have been anticipated, the alleged longstanding inoperability of the front door intercom system, involving a front door that was unlocked remotely from an off-premises security booth, along with the alleged failure of the security officers to properly screen visitors, and the chronic problem of piggy-backing, “made it foreseeable that some form of criminal conduct could occur to the detriment of one or more of the residents therein, at some point in time” … . In examining whether there are triable issues of fact as to issues of foreseeability and proximate cause requiring a trial, “a jury could conceivably conclude” that the alleged condition of the front door security equipment that included the inoperable intercom system, along with the failure of the security officers to engage in proper screening of visitors, would result in the improper piggy-back “entry of intruders into the [subject apartment] building for the commission of criminal activities against known or unknown specific tenants” … . Carmona v Sea Park E., L.P., 2022 NY Slip Op 04149, Second Dept 6-29-22
Practice Point: In the Second Department, a landlord can be liable for a crime committed in the landlord’s building if the door security system was deficient and was therefore a concurrent factor in the happening of the crime. The plaintiff need not demonstrate the specific crime, here the shooting of plaintiff’s decedent, could have been foreseen by the landlord.