CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE VOLUME

Volume XXVI, No. 9, April 3, 2014    

From the Law Offices of Garan Lucow Miller, P.C.

From the Editor: Sarah Nadeau 

****************************

 

 Landlord Owed a Limited Duty to Protect an Invitee Against Criminal Activity

CONTRIBUTOR – WILLIAM J. BRICKLEY

 

In the recently published case of Bailey v Schaaf, ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d ___ (2/4/14), the Court of Appeals approved in part the dismissal of plaintiff’s claims against his landlord, but also reversed in part, allowing plaintiff’s direct claims of negligence against two of the defendants to go forward.

In Bailey, plaintiff was at an outdoor gathering on the grounds of an apartment complex owned by Evergreen when he was shot by defendant Schaaf.  The plaintiff sued Schaaf, but also brought claims against Evergreen, Radney Management, the business that provided security for the apartment complex, Hi-Tech, Hi-Tech’s owner, and the security guards hired by Hi-Tech assigned to the complex on the day of the shooting.  The trial court dismissed plaintiff’s claims against the individual guards, Evergreen, Radney and Hi-Tech, but entered a default judgment against Schaaf.  Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his claims against Evergreen, Radney and Hi-Tech.

The Court of Appeals, on remand from the Michigan Supreme Court, determined that plaintiff could not rely solely on Hi-Tech’s promise to provide security services to Evergreen to establish a claim against Hi-Tech.  Plaintiff was not a party to Hi-Tech’s agreement with Evergreen and was not a third-party beneficiary under that agreement.  Furthermore, the Court determined that although Hi-Tech had a contractual obligation to provide security guards who would protect Evergreen’s property, tenants, and guests, Hi-Tech had no legal duty to provide such protection because Michigan law is clear that a person does not have a duty to protect others who might be in danger, especially where no special relationship existed between Hi-Tech and plaintiff.  Hi-Tech also owed no duty to plaintiff where it was not the possessor or owner of the premises upon which plaintiff was shot, and, where Hi-Tech was not the landlord, it owed no duty to expedite the involvement of police once it became aware that plaintiff was in imminent danger. Finally, the Court determined that Hi-Tech and its employees did nothing to create a hazard, or increase the danger posed by the existing hazard, where the hazard was a criminal act by a third party.

Regarding plaintiff’s claims against Evergreen and Radney, the Court determined that Evergreen and Radney owed a common law duty to their invitees to expedite the involvement of police when a situation occurred posing a risk of imminent and foreseeable harm to identifiable invitees.  The Court found that this limited duty to protect others from criminal acts applied solely to Evergreen and Radney as the premises possessors and landlords.  Therefore, Evergreen and Radney could not contract with Hi-Tech to meet their duty, and the contract with Hi-Tech did not relieve them of direct liability should Hi-Tech fail to perform its contractual duty.

The Bailey Court held that plaintiff’s claims against Hi-Tech were properly dismissed.  The Court permitted plaintiff’s claims of direct liability against Evergreen and Radney to proceed, however, where they were not solely premised on vicarious liability.  Thus, plaintiff was allowed to proceed with his claim that Evergreen and Radney owed him a duty to protect him from the criminal acts of a third party.

 

****************************************

 

GARAN LUCOW MILLER GRAND RAPIDS SPRING BREAKFAST SEMINAR

REGISTER NOW: lbeatty@garanlucow.com

******************************

 

GARAN LUCOW MILLER GRAND RAPIDS SPRING BREAKFAST SEMINAR

April 23, 2014 at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

You and your co-workers are invited to attend our complimentary Annual Spring Breakfast Seminar at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on April 23, 2014.  After the seminar, please enjoy all of the indoor and outdoor garden areas as our guests, including the always wonderful Butterflies Are Blooming exhibit.

If you are able to attend, please R.S.V.P., along with the full names and number of attendees, to Lynn Beatty at lbeatty@garanlucow.com  or call our office at 616-742-5500.  We look forward to seeing you at the gardens.

 

AGENDA

8:00 – 8:20 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:20 – 8:25 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

David N. Campos, Moderator

 

8:25- 8:50 a.m. A View From the Bench

Special Guest Speaker: Hon. James R. Redford, Kent County Circuit Court

 

8:50 – 9:50 a.m. Michigan First Party No-Fault (PIP) Updates

A comprehensive review of significant court decisions over the past year.

Speaker: David N. Campos

 

9:50 – 10:15 a.m. Property Protection Insurance (PPI) Updates

A presentation specifically focused on Property Protection Insurance claims and strategies for successful handling.

Speaker: Tara L. Velting

 

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break

 

10:30 – 10:50 a.m. Michigan Third-Party (Automobile Negligence) Updates

How courts are applying McCormick v Carrier, and the continued importance of using a wide variety of social networking sites for impeachment.

Speaker: David A. Couch

 

10:50 – 11:10 a.m. Updated Strategies for Handling Vehicle and Home Modifications Cases

A presentation specifically focused on Admire v Auto Owners, 494 Mich. 10 (2013) and its effect on modifications claims.

Speaker: Emily L. Partridge

 

11:10 – 11:50 a.m. Using Biomechanical Engineering to Strengthen Your Case

Guest Speaker: Brian T. Weaver, P.E., Weaver Engineering Co.

 

11:50 – 12:20 p.m. Michigan Premises Liability Updates

Speaker: Nathan A. Dodson

 

12:20 – 12:30 p.m. Question and Answer Session With the Panel Speakers

 

******************************

UPCOMING SEMINAR

INDY CITY SEMINAR, Indianapolis, Indiana, Marriott Downtown.

May 21, 2014.  Watch for further details in upcoming issues of LawFax