PREMISES SECURITY – FIREBOMBED HOUSE – POLICE DEPT. SPECIAL DUTY – HOME OWNER -FAILURE TO SECURE KNOWN DRUG LOCATION
Jury Verdict: $660,000 broken down between Pltfs. as follows:
$30,000 for Yvonne P. – Breakdown: $25,000 for past pain and suffering; $5,000 for future pain and suffering
$600,000 for Christine P. – Breakdown: $100,000 for past pain and suffering; $500,000 for future pain and suffering (55 years)
$25,000 for Kirk P. for past pain and suffering only
$5,000 for Est. of Michael P. for funeral expenses. The Estate’s claim for pain and suffering was dismissed because the Notice of Claim was not timely.
- Kirk P. (age 12 – $25,000 award) – bilateral wrist fractures; psychological injuries.
- Christine (age 8 – $600,000 award) – third degree burns to the back and legs; severe scar on one arm; emotional distress.
- Yvonne (in her 30’s – $30,000 award) emotional distress.
Facts & Allegations: The Fitzgerald Law Firm represented the plaintiffs in a negligent security / premises liability case. Plaintiffs lived on the second floor of a house located at 109th Ave. and 153rd St. in Jamaica. Plaintiffs claimed that it was a known drug location. On 4/17/88, someone threw a rock through the window and the police investigated the incident. Plaintiffs claimed that the police told them that they would watch the house. The house was firebombed 8 hours later. Plaintiffs jumped from the second floor to escape the flames from the house fire, but 16 year old Michael P. died.
Plaintiffs claimed that the police department owed them a special duty as a result of officers assurances that they would watch the house. Plaintiffs called a former police commissioner who testified that detectives should have been called in after the rock was thrown through the window.
Plaintiffs argued that the owner of the house allowed drug dealers to remain at the house and did not secure the first floor.