Case Update: Ramirez v. M.L. Management Co. , et al.

August 18, 2016 |

Plaintiff's child was bitten by a dog at a park adjacent to an apartment complex where she was a tenant. As a result, plaintiff sued the apartment management company and others. The dog was owned by another tenant. The apartment complex did not own the park but advertised the park, as a feature of the apartment complex. The apartment complex's rules prohibited the type of dog that bit Plaintiff's child. The tenant dog owner had two dogs, which were prohibited by the rules. There were reports that the dogs had menaced other tenants, and one tenant claimed to have reported the dogs to the apartment's management company; however, the apartment manager never asked the owner to remove the dogs from the premises. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the apartment management company.  The court reasoned that a landowner, in this case the apartment management company, could be liable to a business invitee (the victim tenant and her child), for injuries occurring off the premises where the apartment management company knew that the invitees were using adjacent lands for purposes connected with the business invitation. Distinguishing other cases where there was no relationship between the victim and the landowner, the court concluded that the landlord owed a duty to its tenants to protect them from dangerous dogs on adjacent property where the landlord utilized the adjacent property to promote his business interests.

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