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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Alisa Stewart worked with Amy Wingfield, Raymond Wingfield’s wife, in a medical office building adjacent to Columbia Medical Center of McKinney’s hospital complex in McKinney. On May 16, 2002, Raymond used a rifle to shoot his wife in the head as she was exiting her car in the parking lot next to the office building after returning from lunch. When Stewart ran around the car to assist Amy, Raymond shot Stewart in the back, seriously injuring her. Stewart and her children sued the hospital, claiming the lack of adequate security in the parking lot allowed Raymond to commit the shooting. The hospital moved for summary judgment on the grounds that it owed no duty to Stewart, because Raymond’s conduct was unforeseeable and because Raymond’s actions were a new and intervening cause that extinguished any possible liability the hospital had for appellants’ injuries. In support of the motion for summary judgment, the hospital relied on Raymond’s and Stewart’s deposition testimony and the affidavit of Matt Meineke, the safety/security officer at the hospital. Raymond testified he had been at the hospital many times as a firefighter/paramedic and to visit his wife in the adjacent office building, but that he previously had engaged in no physical altercations with his wife on the premises. Stewart testified she was not aware of any violent tendencies Raymond had towards her or his wife. Meineke stated that before Raymond shot his wife and Stewart in the parking lot, no similar criminal activity occurred in the parking lot or on the hospital’s property. In their response to the motion for summary judgment, appellants argued appellees undertook an affirmative duty to provide security by implementing a security management program and a security management plan and breached that duty by failing to follow those policies and procedures. Stewart also claimed that the hospital had a duty as a premises owner to protect and provide adequate security to users of the parking lot. Stewart contended that the hospital’s negligence was a proximate cause of her injuries and that Raymond’s actions were not a new and intervening cause. The security management program created a duty for security officers “to challenge suspicious persons.” According to Stewart’s expert, the hospital failed to follow its policies and procedures by not challenging Raymond in the parking lot prior to the shooting. Stewart also relied on Raymond’s deposition testimony that he probably would not have chosen the hospital parking lot to carry out the attack if there had been a greater security presence. Stewart testified she rarely associated with Amy outside work. Accordingly, appellants argued, if appellees had provided adequate security, Raymond would have shot his wife elsewhere when Stewart was not present. Stewart offered no evidence of any other criminal conduct at or near the hospital. The trial court granted the hospital’s motion without specifying the basis for the ruling. HOLDING:Affirmed. Under Timberwalk Apartments, Inc. v. Cain, 972 S.W.2d 749 (Tex. 1998), a person has no legal duty to protect another from the criminal acts of a third person, the court stated. However, the court added, a premises owner “who retains control over the security and safety of the premises” has a duty to use ordinary care to protect invitees from criminal acts of third parties if the premises owner knows or has reason to know of an unreasonable and foreseeable risk of harm to the invitee. In determining whether the criminal conduct was foreseeable, the court stated it must consider whether any criminal conduct previously occurred on or near the property, how recently the criminal conduct occurred, how often it occurred, how similar the conduct was to the conduct on the property, and what publicity was given to the occurrences to indicate the premises owner knew or should have known about them. In applying the Timberwalk factors, the court noted that the hospital presented evidence there had been no prior similar criminal activity at or near the hospital, therefore establishing Raymond’s conduct was not foreseeable. Stewart offered no controverting evidence. Therefore, the trial court did not err in finding the hospital did not owe a duty to appellants. Moreover, the court found that the hospital’s security management plan was insufficient as a matter of law to impose a duty on the hospital to protect invitees from the unforeseeable criminal conduct of a third person. To conclude otherwise, the court stated, essentially would make every premises owner who chooses to provide basic security for the premises, regardless of whether criminal conduct by a third party is foreseeable, an insurer of the safety of invitees. OPINION:Bridges, J.; Bridges, O’Neill and FitzGerald, J.J.

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