Butler Kahn obtained a $1,500,000 settlement on behalf of a shooting victim who was shot in an apartment complex parking lot. Our client, R.W., had just returned home with his girlfriend when as they exited their parked car, two masked assailants ambushed them in the parking lot. The assailants demanded that R.W. give them everything in his pockets. When R.W. responded that he did not have anything to give them, one of the assailants searched through his pockets. Then without warning, one of the assailants shot R.W. in the abdomen before fleeing the scene with the other assailant.
Negligent Security and Apartment Management Leads to Shooting
The complex had experienced a rash of crime leading up to the shooting, but ignored the danger that crime posed to its residents. Despite assurances to residents that the apartment management company would fix the broken access gate at the front of the complex, the gate remained wide open, inviting criminals to enter the property. The apartment management company also did nothing to repair a broken section of fence behind one of the apartment buildings, even though so many people had cut through the fence and walked onto the apartment complex this way that there was a well-worn foot path on either side of the broken fence.
Instead of repairing the access gate or fence, the apartment management company failed to implement basic security measures. The dilapidated guard shack at the front of the complex remained empty, and criminals remained free to come and go as they pleased.
The broken access gate and empty guard shack at the apartment complex
The broken section of fence leading to the neighboring apartment complex
As a result, on December 18, 2020, when criminal actors decided to rob someone, they chose this apartment complex as their destination. The police never apprehended the suspects who attempted to rob R.W. and then shot him, leaving him for dead, in part because the suspects were able to flee the complex through the broken section of fence.
Legal Issues in the Personal Injury Lawsuit
R.W. shared the apartment with his girlfriend and their children, although R.W. had not signed a lease agreement and was not listed as a resident on the lease agreement. The lease stated that the apartment was to be occupied only by the occupants listed by name on the lease, and provided for specific limitations on long-term guests. Because R.W. was not on the lease, the apartment management company argued it could not be held liable for its negligence and the shooting of our client.
We argued that it didn’t matter whether R.W. was on the lease because the apartment management company knew R.W. was living there and allowed him to live there, regardless of what the lease said. R.W. regularly greeted the on-site apartment manager by name and had conversations with the manager about his dog living in the apartment. In other words, the apartment management company could not claim that it had strictly followed the terms of the lease because the evidence showed that it had not. Additionally, R.W. was never a party to the lease agreement and therefore could not be legally bound by its terms.
The apartment management company also tried to blame R.W. for the shooting. The apartment manager claimed to have overheard another resident say that R.W. was part of a drug deal gone wrong and that R.W. knew the assailants. We tracked down the witness who allegedly made this statement – and they emphatically denied ever saying anything like that.
Apartment Shooting Settlement for $1.5 million
R.W. considers himself lucky to have survived the shooting. He underwent multiple lifesaving surgeries to repair the damage to his abdomen, including removing one of his kidneys and parts of other organs. Even after the surgeries, R.W. continued to fight for his life. He had to be intubated and placed on oxygen due to respiratory failure, which doctors believed was the result of an infection – a common complication of gunshot wounds.
After months in hospitals and many more months of rehabilitation, R.W. was able to get back to working to support his three children. R.W.’s work was physically demanding, and the long healing process only compounded the stress of having to worry about his family’s finances and mounting medical bills.
We at Butler Kahn are proud to have won compensation for a deserving client. R.W. is a proud father of three children and enjoys supporting them in basketball, baseball, and dance. We are happy to see RW healthy and doing the things he enjoys most.
Our Client’s review of Butler Kahn