Mother Loses Damages Bid in Sex Assault Case
(CN) - A New York City woman whose child was allegedly sexually assaulted by an apartment building porter cannot collect damages from the building's owner and manager, a state appeals court ruled.
Maria Nouel, on behalf of herself and her daughter, sued 325 Wadsworth Realty LLC, which owned the building where the assault took place.
Nouel also sued Solar Realty Management Corp., former owner Inwood Assets LLC and porter Jose Luis Rivera, who was a registered sex offender.
The sexual battery took place in the basement of the building, and the girl was four years old.
Nouel claimed negligent hiring, retention and supervision. The trial court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case.
In an unsigned opinion, the justices of the Manhattan-based First Department New York Appellate Division agreed that the case should be dismissed.
They stated that the defendants were not required to ask their employees if they have been convicted of crimes, adding that the defendants had no "knowledge of Rivera's propensity for such conduct."
"Constructive notice that Rivera harbored dangerous sexual proclivities may not be imputed upon 325 and Solar on the basis that Rivera had set up a playroom in the basement, particularly since Rivera worked in the building and had young children of his own," they wrote.
"Nor is plaintiffs' reliance upon Rivera's termination from his former employer availing, because even if 325 and Solar knew that Rivera was fired for insubordination based upon his reckless driving, that does not constitute notice of his tendency for sexual assault," the justices added.