Cal. Litig. 2015, Volume 28, Number 1

"I Learned About Litigating from That" Adapt and Take Advantage of Opportunities

By Bruce M. Brusavich

Bruce M. Brusavich

Iwas about to start a trial in a third-party liability action for criminal conduct against a supermarket chain representing a woman who was mugged and beaten as she was about to enter a market with her children. The mugger was standing next to the entrance pretending to use a pay phone, waiting for a suitable victim.

Just before trial, the Supreme Court decided Ann M. v. Pacific Plaza Shopping Center (1993) 6 Cal.4th 666, which clarified that the determination of duty, including the analysis of foreseeability of harm, is a question of law to be determined by the court. The Supreme Court also ruled that if plaintiff is attempting to impose a duty to hire security guards, a high degree of foreseeability was required, which would almost always require prior similar incidents of violent crime on the landlord’s premises.

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