Appeal from the Order Entered on September 5, 1986, in the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Civil Division, at No. 646-1986.
Joseph A. McIntyre, Lancaster, for appellants.
Joel D. Smith, Lancaster, for appellees.
Cirillo, President Judge,*fn* and Beck and Hester, JJ.
[ 369 Pa. Super. Page 421]
This case presents the issue of the circumstances under which a landowner can be held liable to a member of the public for injuries resulting from a criminal attack occurring on the landowner's property. Appellants allege that a landowner*fn1 promised to resecure a vacant building and that appellant was raped by an unknown criminal therein before
[ 369 Pa. Super. Page 422]
the building was secured. We hold that the landowner cannot be held liable under these circumstances and that the complaint failed to state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted. We therefore affirm the order of the trial court which sustained appellees' demurrer to the complaint.
In considering preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer, the following standards apply:
[P]reliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer admit as true all well and clearly pleaded material, factual averments and all inferences fairly deducible therefrom. Conclusions of law and unjustified inferences are not admitted by the pleading. Starting from this point of reference the complaint must be examined to determine whether it sets forth a cause of action which, if proved, would entitle the party to the relief sought. If such is the case, the demurrer may not be sustained.
Abarbanel v. Weber, 340 Pa. Super. 473, 479, 490 A.2d 877, 880 (1985) (citations omitted).
We therefore take as true the following facts alleged in appellants' complaint:
5. On or about September 2, 1977, defendant, Olde Town Lancaster, Inc., purchased numerous dwellings located in and around the Historic District of the City of Lancaster, including those dwellings located at 123-125 South Christian Street.
6. Defendant, Olde Town Lancaster, Inc., remained the owner of 123-125 South Christian Street for approximately 6 years until May 25, 1984.
7. During this period of ownership by defendant, Olde Town Lancaster, Inc., the dwellings remained uninhabitable.
8. Prior to March 25, 1984, the defendants knew, or should have known, that this location was being frequented by itinerants, ...