"A tenant who lost her suit against the owners and managers of the apartment complex at which she was raped has a viable malpractice claim against the lawyers who represented her in the matter, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.
After initially meeting with Kelegian, she saw him only on one other occasion, her deposition, she claimed. When she showed up to court for trial as instructed in a letter from Kelegian, the lawyer never arrived and left her to wait for three hours before she finally learned her case had been dismissed.
The lawyers moved for summary judgment, claiming that Ambriz could not have established Casa Escondida owed her a duty to better secure the premises from intruders in any event, and thus they could not be liable for malpractice.
Stern agreed, finding Ambriz did not proffer sufficient evidence to create a triable issue as to whether the complex’s failure to properly maintain its doors and locks was a substantial fact in causing her injury.
But Justice Aaron, writing for the court, said:
“In view of the repeated security breaches and the known presence of unauthorized male intruders, a violent attack by an intruder was sufficiently foreseeable that Casa Escondida had a minimal duty to properly maintain the locks on the doors and gates to the complex and its buildings.”
The case is Ambriz v. Kelegian, D046453. "