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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Maria Urena and her ten-year-old son, L.U., lived in the Front Royale Apartments in Houston. L.U. has the mental capacity of a four-year-old. Another Front Royale resident, Michael Zuniga, lured L.U. into his apartment and allegedly sexually assaulted him. Urena, individually and on behalf of L.U., sued Western Investments, Front Royale Apartments, Ron Deutsch, and Warren Deutsch, the complex owners; and the complex manager, Kate Michon (collectively, “Front Royale”), for negligence, premises liability, breach of contract, breach of implied warranty of habitability, and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act. The defendants filed joint motions for summary judgment under Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 166a(c) and 166a(i), contending that no act or omission on their part proximately caused L.U.’s injuries. The trial court granted summary judgment in their favor without specifying the grounds and rendered a take-nothing judgment against Urena. Urena appealed the judgment on her negligence and premises-liability claims only. The court of appeals reversed and remanded, holding that genuine issues of material fact existed regarding the foreseeability of the sexual assault and whether Front Royale breached its legal duty to protect Urena and L.U. from the criminal acts of third parties. Citing a series of violent crimes such as attempted sexual assault, robbery, and murder occurring in and around the Front Royale complex over a two-year period preceding L.U.’s assault, the court of appeals held that these crimes, which were violent and personal in nature, created a fact question as to whether the risk of other violent crimes in the apartment complex was foreseeable. Applying this court’s decision in Timberwalk Apartments, Partners, Inc. v. Cain, 972 S.W.2d 749 (Tex. 1998), the court of appeals held that summary judgment was improper and a fact issue remained with regard to whether Front Royale owed Urena and her family a legal duty to provide protection from the criminal acts of third parties. The court of appeals also held that the plaintiff presented evidence sufficient to raise a fact issue as to whether Front Royale breached that duty. The court relied on the following evidence to support its conclusion: 1. Front Royale had not replaced its previously terminated security company at the time of the attack; 2. The apartment manager’s testimony that she did not request or obtain police reports of calls related to criminal activity in the area as the Texas Apartment Association’s “Red Book” recommended; and 3. Although various witnesses testified that Front Royale required prospective tenants to provide certain documents such as Social Security cards and drivers licenses, and performed criminal background checks on at least some tenants, these documents were missing from a number of the tenants’ files. The defendants argue that Urena failed to present any evidence that Front Royale’s acts or omissions proximately caused L.U.’s injuries and therefore the trial court properly granted summary judgment in its favor. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. Urena points to three areas in which Front Royale allegedly breached its duty and argues that these breaches caused L.U.’s assault. First, Urena relies on deposition testimony showing that at the time of the assault, Front Royale did not employ a security company to patrol the complex. Urena alleges that had Front Royale provided adequate security, the assault would not have occurred. She presented no evidence, however, that increased security would have prevented this crime. Zuniga was a tenant authorized to be on the property. As such, security guards could not have prevented him from moving freely about the complex and interacting with other residents, nor would security guards have had the ability to monitor the goings-on inside Zuniga’s own apartment, the court finds. Second, Urena relies on the apartment manager’s testimony that she did not obtain police reports of calls related to criminal activity in the area, even though the guide she used in operating the apartments recommended it. But there is no evidence that the police reports would have alerted management that its tenant, Zuniga, was likely to sexually assault a young child, the court finds. Third, Urena claims that, although Front Royale required certain documents from prospective tenants like Social Security cards, drivers licenses, and criminal-background checks, these documents were missing from a number of tenants’ files. But there is no causal connection between this alleged breach of duty and L.U.’s injury, the court finds. Urena presented no evidence that L.U.’s sexual assault could have been prevented if Front Royale had done the three things the plaintiff claims it should have done, the court finds. Even assuming Front Royale’s acts or omissions constituted breach of a duty owed to the Urenas, as they allege, the Urenas presented no evidence that such acts or omissions were a substantial factor in causing L.U.’s injury, the court concludes. OPINION:O’Neill, J., delivered the court’s opinion.

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