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$20M Premises Liability Verdict Awarded to Woman Who Was Raped in Her Apartment

December 31, 1969

In a story making national headlines, a jury has awarded a woman a $20 million personal injury verdict after she was raped in her apartment unit. The sexual assault took place in February 2009. In her premises liability lawsuit, she sued PCM Barker Cypress LLC dba The Promenade Cullen Park for negligence claiming the apartment manager had failed to tell residents that a similar crime had previously occurred on the premise.

"Property owners are responsible for making sure that their premises are safe for residents, visitors, and patrons," said Howard Law PC Partner and Anaheim personal injury lawyer Vincent Howard. "They also are required to give notice if crimes have happened or are happening on the grounds or in the surrounding area."

According to the woman's injury complaint, a masked man was waiting for her inside her second-floor unit--just two weeks after a break-in had happened in the apartment next to hers. In that previous incident, the intruder tried to rape the neighbor. In both instances entry into the apartments was gained through climbing onto the balcony and breaking in through the balcony door. The plaintiff contends that PCM knew about the first incident but failed to warn residents--especially female ones--about this danger. Her premises liability lawyer says that while the apartment complex put out a notice saying that a break-in had happened, it did not mention the attempted rape.

The jury awarded the woman $8 million for future mental anguish, $7 million for mental anguish and physical pain, as well as $8 million because the apartment company violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

"While obtaining compensation for the harm you suffered cannot erase your pain of what happened to you, it can provide you with some financial relief and let you hold any negligent parties liable," said Anaheim premises liability lawyer Vincent Howard.

Other steps that apartment complexes can take to decrease the chances of violent crimes happening on the grounds or in the units include:

• Security entrances
• Fencing off the complex
• Locks on main entrances or exits
• Secured entry
• Adequate lighting
• Surveillance cameras

Rape is a violent crime and one that can leave the victim with lasting damage. In addition to physical injuries, there is the mental emotional anguish and trauma that can result. A rape victim may suffer from posttraumatic stress, depression, and other emotional issues that can permanently affect him/her. You may be able to sue your assailant, the owner of the property where the sexual assault happened, and other negligent parties for the harm that you suffered.

Jury awards $20 million to rape victim who sued apartments,, February 15, 2012

$20 Million Award in Rape Case, Courthouse News Service, February 17, 2012

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Woman Files $75K Huntington Beach Trip and Fall Accident Claim Over Injuries Caused on Raised Sidewalk, California Injury Lawyers, January 30, 2012

Cal State Long Beach Employee Dies in Los Angeles, California Elevator Accident, California Injury Lawyers, December 8, 2011

Los Angeles Injury Accident: 20 Injured at Wal-Mart Black Friday Sale After Woman Pepper Sprays Other Shoppers, California Injury Lawyers, November 28, 2011

Anaheim sexual assault attorney Vincent Howard represents clients in Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Los Angeles County.