Jury Awards Nothing to Tenant Shot in the Face by Intruders

(courtesy of the Georgia Trial Reporter)

Case Caption: Elvedin Softic v. Kristopher Woods Associates, LP, Metro Atlanta Properties, Inc. and John Does 1-15
Case Number:  2006EV001587J
Court:  Fulton County State Court
Verdict:  Defense verdict
Judge: Diane E. Bessen
Date of Verdict: 11/20/2009
Attorneys:
Plaintiff
:   Jonathan P. Sexton, Stockbridge
Aleksandra H. Bronsted, Chamblee
Defendant:   Nola D. Jackson, Norcross
J. Robb Cruser, Norcross

Facts:
A 19 year old man was shot in his apartment by three masked men and claimed defendants did not keep the premises safe. Defendants argued the area was indeed safe. A defense verdict was returned after the jury deliberated 2 hours. 

Plaintiff Elvedin Softic was in his home at Defendant Kristopher Woods Apartments on or about February 12, 2005. As he was talking to his girlfriend on the phone, his door was kicked in and three unknown masked and armed men pointed guns at him and demanded money. When he did not comply, one of the men shot him in the face with a rifle and another fired a pistol toward him but missed. The bullet from the rifle entered his mouth and knocked out several teeth before exiting the left side of his neck. An ambulance transported him to DeKalb Medical Center where he underwent surgery and was hospitalized. Defendants Woods Associates and Metro Atlanta Properties, Inc. were the owners and manger of the apartments. Defendants hired D. Edwards & Company d/b/a Pro-Tec Security to provide armed security guards to patrol the premises.

Plaintiff alleged Defendants Woods Associates and Metro Atlanta Properties, Inc. were aware of prior similar crimes including burglaries, robberies, armed robberies and gang activity. A guard from Defendant Pro-Tec was scheduled to be working but was not on the property the night plaintiff was shot. Plaintiff asserted that defendants breached their duty to exercise ordinary care in keeping the property safe as required by Georgia Law. Plaintiff claimed the criminal acts were foreseeable based upon defendants’ knowledge of prior similar crimes and defendants provided inadequate security to prevent such crimes.

Defendants contended they breached no duty owed to plaintiff as the apartment complex was maintained in a reasonably safe manner.

Jury Deliberations: 2 hours

Plaintiff Profile: Plaintiff was a 19 year old single male.

Alleged Injury: Gunshot wound to the face, resulting in dental injuries with the loss of several teeth. Plaintiff had an exit wound on the left side of his neck. Plaintiff claimed $44,369 in past medicals; $23,555 in future medicals for dental work; and $7,500 for future oral surgery.

Insurance Carrier:  ALEA North America

Expert(s):
  Plaintiff:  John Harris, Security – Atlanta, GA
  Defendant: Jeffrey Gross, Safety and Security – Atlanta, GA
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