Friday, May 2, 2014

Negligent Security Case is Dismissed

            In Vekhter v. Vishnyakov and Astoria Caterers, Inc. (NYLJ 1202653274435, at 1, Sup., Kings, decided April 21, 2014), the plaintiff brought a negligence action against a defendant restaurant, alleging that the restaurant was liable for injuries he suffered as a result of being attacked by another patron of the establishment when he was there.  Particularly, the plaintiff alleged the following causes of action: negligence and battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress; assault; negligent infliction of emotional distress; premises liability; negligent hiring, supervision, and retention; failure to provide security as required by New York City Administrative Code §20-359; and punitive damages.

            After the defendant made a motion for summary judgment (seeking to dismiss the plaintiff's action), the Kings County Supreme Court granted the defendant's motion, holding, among other things, that the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact with respect to issues of proximate cause and foreseeability.  The Court also stated the following: "While the owner of a public establishment has the duty to control the conduct of persons on its premises when it has the opportunity to do so and is reasonably aware of the need for such control, it has no duty to protect customers against an unforseen and unexpected assault...Nonetheless, plaintiff's vague and conclusory assertion that 'fights like [his] regularly happened' is insufficient to support a duty on [defendant's] part to provide security either generally or for [the event].  Plaintiff provides no evidence of a history of assaults or altercations either at [defendant's restaurant] or [similar events] held elsewhere."

Salvatore R. Marino, Esq.

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