Sanders v. Erp Operating Ltd. P’shipAnnotate this Case
Two young adults were shot to death by unknown assailants inside their apartment. The apartment was located in an apartment complex marketed as a “gated community.” Plaintiff, as personal representative of the decedents’ estate, sued Defendant, a national company that owned the complex, alleging that Defendant’s negligence was a proximate cause of the deaths because Defendant failed to provide adequate security at the apartment complex. A jury found Defendant forty percent comparatively negligent and awarded $4.5 million in damages. Defendant filed a motion for directed verdict, which the trial court denied. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s ruling on Defendant’s motion for directed verdict, concluding that without proof of how the assailants gained entry into the apartment, Plaintiff could not prove causation. The Supreme Court quashed the Fourth District’s decision granting a directed verdict to Defendant, holding that Plaintiff presented evidence that could support a finding that Defendant more likely than not substantially contributed to the deaths in this case.