Medcalf v. Washington Heights Condominium Ass'n Inc.
57 Conn. App. 12, 747 A.2d 532 (2000)
Medcalf and a friend were going to visit Skiades who live
in the Washington Heights building. Skiades was unable to buzz Medcalf
into the front door because the buzzer was not working. While waiting
outside, Medcalf was attacked by a creep and injured.
Medcalf sued Washington Heights for negligence.
Medcalf argued that if the intercom system had been
working properly, she would not have been outside and not have been
The Trial Court found for Medcalf. Washington Heights
The Appellate Court reversed and gave a directed
verdict to Washington Heights.
In order to hold someone liable for negligence,
you have to establish that their actions (or inactions) were a proximate
cause of the injury.
Proximate Cause means that there has to be a
reasonable and direct connection between the negligent act and the
Also known as scope of the risk, or scope of
Restatement of Torts says that, "an actor is
not liable for harm different from the harms whose risks made the
actor's conduct tortuous."
The Appellate Court found that Medcalf's injury was not
of the same general nature as the foreseeable risk created by
Washington Height's negligence.
Washington Heights could not have reasonably foreseen
that an assault would be the result of not fixing the intercom.
If, for example, there was a disabled person in an
apartment who needed a doctor and the doctor couldn't get in because the
door wouldn't open, then you might have a much better case where
Washington Heights' negligence was a proximate cause of