His Sister’s Keeper

Home » Legally Speaking Posts » His Sister’s Keeper

Q: I was standing in the lobby of the building and heard a commotion in the rear courtyard, which is next to a parking lot.  The fight involved loud arguing and cursing. I observed a male with his hands on my sister’s face, and heard my sister calling for help.  I immediately walked outside and approached them.

He punched me in the head, sending me to the ground.  I got back up and banged his head against the concrete floor several times.  We fought for a while.  Eventually, others broke up the fight.  Then I saw someone hand our enemy a gun.  He shot and paralyzed me.

A: The building owner will argue that, even if it was negligent in securing the building, its negligence did not proximately cause your injuries: your voluntary participation in the fight was a ‘superseding cause’.  The security company will argue that it was in full compliance with its contractual obligations, i.e. to have a guard in the security booth and others patrolling the building.  The company will contend that it had no contractual duty to secure the building, without fail, or physically to intervene in fights.

The courts of New York have held that one who voluntarily participates in a physical fight cannot recover from a party generally charged with maintaining a safe environment.  Your willing participation in the fight negates any negligence committed by a defendant with a duty to provide security.  Even assuming that the building owner or the security company failed to provide reasonable security, the reasoning is that you could have remained elsewhere at the time of the fight.

Unless there is something that you have failed to tell me, I am afraid that, in choosing to join the fight, the courts will hold that you ‘severed any causal connection’ arising from the defendants’ negligence in providing reasonable security.  Take this case to an attorney: there may be other details, which can help you.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

Copyright © 2013-2020 Scott Baron & Associates, P.C. All rights reserved. 159-49 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach, New York 11414 1750 Central Park Ave, Yonkers, NY 10710 718-738-9800, 914-337-9800, 1-866-927-4878