Kline v. 400 Massachusetts Avenue Corp.
Landlord and Tenant. Kline v. 400 Massachusetts Avenue Corp.
P aw assaulted and robbed in the common hallway of her building. Other tenants had been assaulted or robbed in the hallways of the building and the owner had notice of this. Judgment as a matter of law to the defendant on the ground that it had no duty to protect its tenants from third parties, court of appeals reversed:
Where landlord has notice of repeated criminal assaults and robberies, has notice that these crimes occurred in the portion of the premises exclusively within his control, has every reason to expect like crimes to happen again, and has the exclusive power to take preventive action, it does not seem unfair to place upon the landlord a duty to take those steps which are within his power to minimize the predictable risk to his tenants.
Since the ability of one of the parties to provide for his own protection ahs been limited in some way by his submission to the control of the other, a duty should be imposed upon the one possessing control to take reasonable precautions to protect the other one from assaults by third parties which, at least, could reasonably have been anticipated.