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Landlords: Be careful who you hire to manage property

Is owner liable for employee's attempted murder of tenant?

Michael William Hawkins was a tenant at the Kentfield Apartments, which is owned by Mark Wilton. On May 5, 2003, manager and night security guard David Anthony Rodriguez shot Hawkins on the sidewalk outside the apartment complex. Rodriguez was convicted for attempted murder and related charges. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Hawkins later sued Wilton for negligent hiring of Rodriguez because Wilton knew Rodriguez had been convicted of manslaughter, served a prison term, carried guns, used methamphetamines, and threatened tenants while working for him. Hawkins sued Wilton for "respondeat superior" employer liability for negligence in not protecting the tenants from foreseeable criminality and allowing a dangerous person to remain on the property. Landlord Wilton replied the shooting took place on the public sidewalk outside the complex. He also alleged Rodriguez and Hawkins were "pretty good acquaintances" who spoke and smoked cigarettes almost daily. Hawkins responded that he...

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