CYNTHIA v. 3156 HULL AVENUE EQUITIES INC

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

CYNTHIA B., an infant by her mother and natural guardian, Gladys P., et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. 3156 HULL AVENUE EQUITIES, INC., Defendant-Respondent.

Decided: March 20, 2007

MAZZARELLI, J.P., FRIEDMAN, BUCKLEY, CATTERSON, MALONE, JJ. Decolator, Cohen & DiPrisco, LLP, Garden City (David Stanton Gould of counsel), for appellants. Downing & Peck, P.C., New York (Ernest J. Peck of counsel), for respondent.

Order, Supreme Court, Bronx County (Howard R. Silver, J.), entered January 27, 2006, which, in an action for personal injuries sustained in a rape allegedly caused by inadequate building security, granted defendant landlord's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

The record shows that the assailant, pretending to be a plumber, approached and spoke to the infant plaintiff inside her apartment building on two occasions some two weeks before the rape;  that she let him into her apartment on one of those occasions, as well as on the day of the rape, because she believed he was a plumber;  and that the rape matched an identified City-wide pattern in which the rapist pretended to be a plumber in order to gain access to apartments and rape the occupants.   These facts suffice to make a prima facie showing that the infant plaintiff was targeted well in advance by a serial rapist, severing any causal connection between her injuries and defendant's alleged negligence in failing to repair a broken front door lock (see Buckeridge v. Broadie, 5 A.D.3d 298, 300, 774 N.Y.S.2d 132 [2004] ).   Plaintiffs' response that a functioning front door lock would have deterred the rapist is “most unlikely” (Cerda v. 2962 Decatur Ave. Owners Corp., 306 A.D.2d 169, 169, 761 N.Y.S.2d 220 [2003] ).