Robbery victim claimed landlord ignored broken locks
|Inadequate or Negligent Security, Premises Liability - Apartment Building, Premises Liability - Tenant's Injury|
|Lenin Garcia v. Genue Estate, Inc., Lew Bodak & Role Realty Management Corp., No. 308573/08|
|Bronx Supreme, NY|
|Alexander W. Hunter Jr.
- Andrew M. Laskin; Robinson & Yablon, PC; New York, NY, for Lenin Garcia
- Erica Loutsch; Psychiatry; Mamaroneck, NY called by: Andrew Laskin
- Aron Kressel M.D.; Plastic Surgery/Reconstructive Surgery; New York, NY called by: Andrew Laskin
- Gerardo Tapia M.D.; Psychiatry; New York, NY called by: Andrew Laskin
- William Brenner; Security/Premises Liability; Nutley, NJ called by: Andrew Laskin
- Richard Eniclerico; Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer, LLP; New York, NY, for Genue Estate Inc., Lew Bodak, Role Realty Management Corp.
- Dr. Larry Siever; Psychiatry; Bronx, NY called by: Richard Eniclerico
- Peter Smerick; Crime Analysis; Manassas, VA called by: Richard Eniclerico
- Tower Group Cos. for all defendants
At about 11:30 p.m. on June 29, 2007, plaintiff Lenin Garcia, 32, a bodega's manager, was attacked and robbed.
The incident began when Garcia was called to the door of his apartment, which was located at 1684-86 Grand Concourse, in the Mount Eden section of the Bronx. An unidentified woman on the outer side of the door announced that she was looking for Garcia's brother. Garcia opened the door, and he was tackled and hog-tied by four men who were seeking money. Garcia claimed that he did not have money, so the men tortured him with a hot clothes iron. Garcia relinquished rent money that he had in the apartment, but the torture continued. The robbers eventually grabbed some of Garcia's personal items and fled. Garcia sustained burns of his back and buttocks.
Garcia sued his apartment building's owner, Genue Estate Inc.; the building's manager, Role Realty Management Corp.; and the landlord, Lew Bodak. Garcia alleged that the defendants negligently failed to adequately secure the premises.
Before reaching Garcia's apartment, the robbers passed through a courtyard gate that provided street access to the premises, the building's main entrance, and a door that separated the building's lobby and a residential area. Garcia's counsel claimed that the doors were never locked. He also noted that the building was located in a high-crime area, and, as such, he argued that the defendants should have ensured that the building's security system and locks were adequate and functional. Garcia's security expert opined that a local building code requires self-closing, self-locking doors and an intercom system.
Defense counsel contended that the robbers' actions and method of operation suggested that they would not have been deterred by locks or intercoms. He also contended that the robbers had clearly targeted Garcia and inevitably would have reached him. He suggested that Garcia should not have opened his apartment's door without having ascertained the identity of the visitors.
Garcia endured more than 60 minutes of threats and torture. He sustained third-degree burns of his back and buttocks. He claimed that a gun was held to his head and that a knife was held to his throat.
Garcia was placed in an ambulance, and he was transported to Jacobi Medical Center, in the Bronx. His burns were treated via the application of ointment and bandages.
Garcia claimed that he feared that the robbers would kill him, and he contended that he suffers residual post-traumatic stress disorder. He claimed that he fears being outdoors and remains wary of being followed by strangers. He also bears permanent residual scars of his back and buttocks, though a doctor has advised that surgery can improve the scars.
Garcia sought recovery of damages for past and future pain and suffering.
After the trial's first week, the parties negotiated a settlement. The defendants' insurer agreed to pay $650,000.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's and defense counsel.