Landlord's Duty to Provide Security Guards to Prevent Sexual Assault

In Sharon P. v. Arman, Ltd. (1999) the court declined to impose a duty on the defendant landlords to provide security guards in their underground commercial parking garage because the sexual assault on the plaintiff was not foreseeable. Although there was evidence that the bank on the first floor of the building had been robbed 7 times in the prior 27-month period, that several hundred crimes including 2 rapes had occurred in the 50 square blocks surrounding the building, and that persons were known to have slept and urinated in or around the garage prior to the assault on plaintiff, no crimes had been reported in the garage in the 10 years preceding the attack. (Sharon P., supra, 21 Cal. 4th at pp. 1186, 1191, 1194-1195.) The court found it significant that none of the bank robberies had involved violent attacks, and held that their dissimilarity to the sexual assault on the plaintiff, even when considered with the other evidence, did not establish the high degree of foreseeability necessary to justify the "significant burden" (id. at p. 1195) of imposing a duty to provide security guards in the garage. (Id. at p. 1191.)