Under North Carolina law, property owners have a duty to ensure that some classes of visitors to their properties are safe. This can include a duty to prevent or warn against dangers that may be caused by third parties engaging in criminal activity. There are many issues that come in a premises liability case involving criminal acts from a third party such as whether it was foreseeable that a criminal act would happen on the property in the manner that it happened. Jason Burton is an experienced Raleigh premises liability attorney who believes that injury accident victims deserve knowledgeable and attentive legal representation.
Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal issued a ruling in a case involving a student at a university campus who was the target of a prank committed by other students who lived in his dormitory. The plaintiff alleged in his complaint that the other students would set a cup of water above his door so that when he would open it the water would spill on him. The plaintiff decided to speak with the students about the prank and the conversation resulted in physical violence. As a result of the fight, five of the students who were involved received suspensions. The university assigned the plaintiff and his roommate to another dormitory building. After some time, the plaintiff decided to leave the university and to attend school at another campus.
The complaint that the plaintiff filed named the university as a defendant contending that the university was responsible for the emotional distress that the plaintiff suffered. The plaintiff sought punitive damages in the complaint, which is a category of damages intended to punish defendants for, particularly egregious conduct. In response to the complaint, the defendant moved for summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court.