$150,000: Woman Assaulted In Unsecure Apartment Complex

CASE DESCRIPTION: A woman was raped in the rear overflow parking lot of her apartment. Upon exiting her vehicle she was assaulted and raped at knife point. Plaintiff brought suit against the apartment complex claiming they misrepresented the area as safe and that they are responsible for their premises. The Defendant responded that there was adequate security on the premises.

RESULT: $150,000.00 total settlement

On February 22, 1989 Plaintiff had returned home to her apartment complex from a nearby college. She pulled into a rear “overflow” parking lot. As she was exiting her vehicle, she was hit over the head, rendering her semi-unconscious. The assailant then proceeded to brutally attack and rape the plaintiff at knifepoint, subsequently leaving her to her own resources.

Upon inquiring into renting an apartment at the Applewood complex, Plaintiff had inquired as to the safety and security of the premises. The Plaintiff was led to believe that the premises were safe, and that there was not a problem with crime in the area. In addition, the “south” parking lot, where tenants with more than one vehicle would park any extra vehicles, was far removed from the complex itself and there was less than sufficient lighting in that parking lot, making it a potential crime “haven.” In addition, there had been several thefts from cars and various reports of crimes in the complex prior to the subject incident, although no prior crimes against persons.

The Defense argued that there was more than adequate lighting in the parking lot. In addition, Defendants claimed they could not be responsible for the acts of a third party. They also stated that there was adequate security on the premises, including five drive-by patrols and three walk through patrols per night. Defendant also stated that they would appeal any Plaintiff”s verdict based upon the recent Nola M. v. USC holding.

TYPE OF CASE: Personal Injury; Premises Liability

INJURIES: Raped at knifepoint. Minor cuts from knife of neck, breasts and thighs; as well as bruises. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape Trauma Syndrome.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: On 2/22/89 approximately at 8: 15 p.m. in Applewood Village Apartments, Santa Ana, California.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE: 21 at time of incident.

OCCUPATION: Now an elementary school teacher

Richard A. Cohn
For Plaintiff – Jane Doe

Edward Brown
For Defendant – Applewood Village Apartments, Villages investments & Village Property Management

DEFENDANT INSURANCE CO.: State Farm Fire & Casualty