Garcia v. 398 Crescent St. Property Inc.

KINGS COUNTY
Torts

New York Law Journal

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Justice Miller


Defendant 398 Crescent moved for dismissal of the complaint in which plaintiff administratrix alleged her decedent, Acosta, was dragged into defendant's building, robbed and killed by defendant Melendez-Sanchez. Plaintiff contended defendant's building was a public nuisance as it was abandoned and not locked. She argued if the building was properly sealed, Melendez-Sanchez would not have been able to break in and murder Acosta. The court stated plaintiff failed to state a cause of action pursuant to the Court of Appeals' decision in Waters v. New York City Housing Authority. It found no factual distinction to warrant a finding defendant owed Acosta a duty of care. The court noted the Appellate Division held that no recovery could be had for nuisance where the injury was caused by subsequent intervening criminal conduct by a third party. It ruled a building owner's duty of care was limited to the tenants or others who might reasonably be expected to be on the premises. Thus, as Melendez-Sanchez did not have permission to be there, 398 Crescent did not have control over him. As such, the murder of Acosta was caused by an intervening act and plaintiff failed to state a cause of action. Hence, the complaint was dismissed.

 

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