Court considers liability of apartment complex

The victim of a shooting at a Flint apartment complex seeks to hold the complex liable for his injuries in a case that the Michian Supreme Court will hear in oral arguments this week.

In Bailey v Schaaf, the plaintiff was shot while attending his brother’s barbecue in one of the complex’s common areas.

Residents had earlier seen the shooter brandishing a gun and threatening to kill someone; one resident approached two security guards about the shooter, but the guards did nothing.

Minutes later, the gunman attacked the plaintiff, shooting him and rendering the plaintiff a paraplegic.

The plaintiff sued the apartment complex, its management company, the security company, and the two guards, as well as the shooter.

However, a circuit court judge dismissed all the defendants from the case except for the shooter, finding that the apartment complex and other defendants had no duty to protect the plaintiff.

The court of appeals partly reversed the circuit court, holding that the plaintiff could pursue his claim against the complex; as the “premises proprietor,” the complex had a duty to “respond reasonably to situations occurring on the premises [including] a duty to call the police when required,” the appellate court stated.

The apartment complex and management company appeal that ruling, arguing that the apartment complex had no duty to protect the plaintiff from the criminal acts of another person.

The court will hear about one dozen other cases, involving collective bargaining, criminal, governmental immunity, auto no-fault insurance, and tax law issues.

The court will hear the oral argument in its courtroom on the sixth floor of the Michigan Hall of Justice on March 5, 6 and 7, starting at 9:30 a.m. each day.