Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

JOHNSON v. WAYNE MANOR APTS.

November 24, 1993

HEATHER JOHNSON
v.
WAYNE MANOR APARTMENTS, and LINCOLN MANAGEMENT CO. and IRVING GOLDSTEIN



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BY THE COURT; J. CURTIS JOYNER

 JOYNER, J.

 By way of the motion which is now pending before this court, the defendants in the instant civil action, Wayne Manor Apartments, Irving Goldstein and the Lincoln Management Company, contend that they are now entitled to the entry of summary judgment in their favor as a matter of law. For the reasons which follow, we cannot agree with the defendants' contention and their motion must therefore be denied.

 I. HISTORY OF THE CASE

 This case, which was commenced in this court on the basis of the parties' diverse citizenships, arose in the early morning hours of July 13, 1991 when the plaintiff, Heather Johnson, was awakened by an unknown criminal intruder in the bedroom of her apartment at the Wayne Manor Apartment Complex in Philadelphia and subsequently assaulted, raped and robbed by that individual. From all appearances, the plaintiff's assailant gained access to her third story apartment by scaling the fire tower which was adjacent to and entering through the apartment's kitchen window. On or about March 23, 1993, the plaintiff brought this suit for her personal and psychological injuries and damages against the apartment complex, its owner and management company alleging that the said defendants were negligent in that they did not properly inspect the premises to ascertain the presence of criminal persons nor did they properly provide and maintain the security program that was in place at the complex. Defendants, in turn, answered the complaint by denying all of the plaintiff's allegations, including the averments that they had voluntarily undertaken the responsibility to provide security for the apartment complex and that any type of security "program" was in place at Wayne Manor before or at the time of the plaintiff's attack. Defendants' motion for summary judgment now urges this court to find that there is no factual support in the record of this matter to substantiate the plaintiff's claim that a so-called "program of security" ever existed at the defendant complex or that it failed to protect her on the morning of July 13, 1991.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Applicable Legal Standards to Summary Judgment Motions

 The standards to which the district courts must adhere in disposing of motions for summary judgment are well and firmly established and have been succinctly outlined by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). That Rule states, in relevant part:

 
...The judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. A summary judgment, interlocutory in character, may be rendered on the issue of liability alone although there is a genuine issue as to the amount of damages.

 It is thus incumbent upon a court in considering a motion for summary judgment to determine whether the evidence can reasonably support a verdict for the non-moving party. In making this determination, all of the facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986); U.S. v. Kensington Hospital, 760 F. Supp. 1120, 1126-1127 (E.D.Pa. 1991). In this regard, it has been held that an issue is "genuine" if the fact-finder could reasonably hold in the non-movant's favor with respect to that issue and that a fact is "material" if it influences the outcome under the governing law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-248, 106 S. Ct. at 2509-2510.

 This is not to say, however, that a non-moving party may rest upon the allegations contained in his or her pleadings in defense of a summary judgment motion. To the contrary, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e) provides:

 
When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided for in this rule, an adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading, but the adverse party's response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth genuine specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. If the adverse party does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against the adverse party.

 As a consequence, while the moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of genuine issues of material fact, the non-movant must then establish the existence of each element of its case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986); ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.