A Harris County jury recently awarded $20 million dollars to a young woman who was raped by a neighbor in her apartment complex. The jury awarded the victim $12 milion in personal injury damages: $7 million for physical pain and mental anguish and $5 million for future mental anguish; and $8 million for violating Texas’ deceptive trade practices statute.
The apartment complex was aware that there had been two prior sexual assaults (and one attempted sexual assault of a minor girl) on the property and had failed to inform the tenants. In fact, the second assault happened next door to the victim the day before she renewed her lease. Investigators would later discover that the same man who attacked the victim in this case, Anthony Darryl Martin, was the attacker in the prior incidents. The attacker has since pled guilty to his crimes and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.
The apartment complex never told tenants about the two prior sexual assaults according to the victim’s attorney. Just as apartment complexes have duties to inform residents about potential dangers such as health related risks or thefts on the property, they also have a duty to inform the residents about the danger of other crimes committed on the property.
The jury agreed that the apartment complex had an obligation to inform her of the serial rapist on its property and three years after the rape, the victim had her day in court.
If you or someone you know has been harmed on property that has failed to provide adequate security or failed to disclose information that could protect tenants from foreseeable acts of others, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211.