An assistant manager of a Duane Reade store sued Sottile Security Company--an independent security firm retained by the chain--to recover damages for personal injuries incurred during the course of an after-hours, in-store attack.
On the evening of November 2, 2001, Adan Rahim was assaulted by a former employee who had entered prior to closing and secreted herself in the store's back area. (The attacker had been terminated for allegedly stealing batteries a few months prior to the incident.)
The question examined by the court in Rahim v. Sottile Security Company, was whether the security company violated a "duty of care" to Mr. Rahim. And, after reviewing the governing facts and circumstances, concluded that no such duty existed.
Apparently, Mr. Rahim was solely responsible for closing the store each evening and it was his understanding that the unarmed guard's function was to "watch for shoplifters," rather than provide personal protection services.
The appellate court reaffirmed that in order for tort liability to be triggered in this particular instance, at least one of three situations had to be established:
1) the contracting party must launch "a force or instrument of harm;"Since the assistant manager was not an intended beneficiary of the underlying security contract and none of the delineated legal exceptions applied, the case against Sottile was dismissed.
2) there must detrimental reliance on the contracting party's performance; or
3) the contracting party must assume the duty and the assumption of that responsibility must be "comprehensive and exclusive."
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision in Rahim v. Sottile Security Company, please click on the following link: