Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Premises Liability

Last Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court decided Bennett v. Highland Apartments located here.   Bennett and her children were the victims of a home invasion at the Highland appartments. The assailants were never caught.  The Bennetts filed a premises liability complaint against the apartment complex.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals reverses finding that the plaintiffs’ expert noted that there were 1000 calls for service at the complex within a five year period and that reasonable jurors could have found that the lack of an armed security guard and a gate the was not in working condition were substantial factors in bringing about the harm to the plaintiffs.  The Mississippi Supreme Court granted  cert to expand on the Court of Appeals’ analysis on the summary-judgment issue, and to explain why the expert testimony created a triable issue.  The relevant language to file away is below:
"Our Lymas holding should be understood to hold that a plaintiff may not prove that a premises owner’s failure to provide security measures proximately caused injuries based on cursory and unsupported statements of causation by an expert witness. But where, as here, that expert testimony delves into the detail of how the premises owner’s failure to employ those measures caused the injury, and provides support to show that those measures would work to prevent the injury, the plaintiff is at least entitled to submit that issue to a jury."
From my reading, if you show a prior pattern of problems, combined with some expert testimony, the issue goes to the jury. 

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