Lawsuit: Property Manager Wins 2.4M Lawsuit against Building Owner

In a case that sets the stage for others of its kind, an Atlanta judge has ruled that the owner of
Townsview Station Apartments is at fault for failing to provide ample safety measures for their
apartment community.
The plaintiff, the former property manager of Townsview Station Apartments reported to her owners
that a series of break-ins and crimes were committed on the property.  Concerned for her safety, she
asked ownership to purchase a $35 per month security system that she believed would make her safer.
Crime continued at the property and in a sad but too common story, the community manager’s fears
proved to be justified.
In August of 2012 while opening up the leasing office for the day, a man came up behind her, pushed
her into the office and proceeded to beat and sexual assault her.  She was right.  The community was
not safe and when the dust settled, she blamed the property owner and her management company for
not taking measures to make her safer at work.
Three years later, an Atlanta judge has ruled that he agrees with her, but it was not a straight road to
justice.  During the course of the case, the core question became: Who is at fault? The owner, the
management company, or the individual who committed these crimes?
In the end, Judge Glanville determined that it was the owner of the apartment community that held
fault for failing to keep the premises safe and that the nature of this crime was not covered by worker’s
compensation.
For those in multifamily who have mulled over who holds responsibility for crimes against their
employees, this case lays out a clear template.  While a property management company is the direct
employer of on-site staff, the owner is the sole entity that controls budgets and physical improvements
to their community.  While there are certainly ways a management company could end up holding the
blame, such as failure to inform an owner or asset manager of various safety programs, the owner
represents the end of the line in most cases.
The good news out of all this?  Most security solutions are very affordable when compared with other
programs management companies need to sell their owners on.  When combined with your owners
liability, it is common sense for owners to cover their bases for both risk prevention as well as
reputation management.

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