Fulton County Verdict against Property Management Company for Rape of Atlanta Tenant


April 25, 2012

Many Atlanta families must rent apartments with common areas and secured access that can be dangerous because of the potential for security lapses that can result in violent criminal or sexual attacks. A landlord typically has a duty to provide adequate security to protect tenants from criminal attacks.

The exact nature of the security measures that are required to comply with this obligation can range broadly and may include video camera systems, security doors and key card entry systems, as well as unarmed or armed security guards. When a landlord fails to take reasonable security measures or permits those security measures to fall into disrepair, the landlord or property management company may be liable in a personal injury action for providing negligent security.

A recent Atlanta case provides a clear example of a landlord or property management company’s obligation to implement reasonable security measures to protect tenants. A recent Fulton County jury returned a verdict against a property management company for $350,000 to a rape victim who allegedly was sexually assaulted because the property management company failed to implement proper security measures. The rape victim was attacked by two assailants that entered the property. They entered through a security door that was broken. The failure of the property management company to repair the security door was the basis for the finding that the property management company did not provide adequate security.

This case offers an interesting example of an important principle in negligent security cases and other “intentional tort cases.” An intentional tort essentially refers to intentional acts that cause harm or injury to another. Intentional torts often, though not always, involve criminal acts like assault, battery, rape, sexual molestation and other similar crimes. While the rape victim in this case also sued the rapist, it may be difficult to recover against those who commit crimes because they may not have substantial assets and may be going to prison, which means that they have little prospect of substantial earnings and little or no ability to pay. This is why crime victims attacked on the property of another are typically more likely to recover against the insurance policy of the property owner or property management company, than from the party that committed the violent crime.

Negligent security cases are relatively complex because there is no black letter law regarding when security is required or what constitutes adequate security. The issue often turns on the amount of crime in the area and the nature of the crimes being committed. The measures taken are then weighed to determine their reasonableness in light of the pattern and history of crime in the area. Certainly a property owner who fails to take even minimal safety precautions, like maintaining a security door in proper order, is more likely to face liability in a negligent security action than a company that uses cameras but not guards or only unarmed guards.

If you are seriously injured or a loved one dies because of negligent security in Atlanta or elsewhere throughout Georgia or the Southeast, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys will work in the best interest of our clients to help them obtain the compensation they deserve. Our experienced negligent security lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.