Wheeler v. Arker Companies
Justice David Schmidt
Defendants Arker Companies and Sea Park East, moved for summary judgment dismissing the action against them. Wheeler cross-moved for partial summary judgment on liability against all defendants. Wheeler and Thompson, among others, were physically fighting throughout the day culminating in an attack by Wheeler and his family on the Thompsons in the lobby of the Sea Park apartments, where all plaintiffs resided. Plaintiffs testified the door locks to the building were broken at the time of the incident. Thompson was allegedly injured by Wheeler, who was later stabbed in the back by an assailant he never saw. The court noted that while a functioning lock on the entrance to an apartment building was a duty owed to tenants, Thompsons' claims were dismissed as they identified Wheeler as the assailant, noting Wheeler was a resident, and his friends constituted guests. As such, the fact a lock was not functioning was not the proximate cause of Thompson's injuries. Further, the court denied Wheeler's motion as the question of whether his assailant was a tenant, guest of a tenant or intruder was an issue of fact.