Third-party liability for criminal actions can be difficult to prove, but it can be done.
Generally, third parties have no duty or obligation to prevent criminal actions of other people. There are exceptions, however, for property owners who have actual or constructive notice of a pattern of the same or similar violent crimes. The key is showing that the criminal action that caused injury to the victim was foreseeable and that the property owner had a duty to minimize the risk for those lawfully on site.
One such case was recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In Jenkins v. C.R.E.S. Mgmt. LLC, plaintiff alleged an apartment complex where he worked and also resided had a duty to shield him from hard that was both unreasonable and foreseeable as a result of criminal acts committed by third parties. Continue reading