Monday, November 11, 2013

Kline v. 1500 Massachusetts Avenue Apartment Corp. case brief

Kline v. 1500 Massachusetts Avenue Apartment Corp. case brief summary
439 F.2d 477 (D.C. Cir. 1970)

Appellant tenant sought review of a District Court (District of Columbia) decision in favor of appellee landlord in appellant's action to recover for injuries suffered when she was assaulted and robbed in the common hallway of her leased urban apartment.


Appellant tenant sustained serious injuries after being assaulted and robbed in the common hallway of her urban apartment dwelling. Much of the building was often left unattended although appellee landlord had knowledge that other criminal acts had been occurring in the surrounding neighborhood with increasing frequency. Appellant brought suit to recover for her injuries. The trial court entered judgment in favor of appellee after holding it owed no legal duty to appellant.


  • Appellant challenged the trial court's decision, and the appellate court reversed, holding that appellee owed a duty of protection to appellant since appellee was placed on notice of foreseeable criminal acts by third persons yet took no preventative action. 
  • The court also held that a contractual obligation was implied in the lease between the parties that appellee would take protective measures within its reasonable capacity. 
  • Appellee breached its duty to use reasonable care in providing protection to appellant.

Appellate court reversed the trial court's judgment, holding that appellee owed appellant a duty of reasonable care in providing protective services. Appellee breached that duty by failing to take protective action after learning of frequent neighborhood criminal activity and was also obligated under the parties' lease to provide reasonable protection.

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