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Doe v. Manheimer

Connecticut Supreme Court
563 A.2d 699 (1989)


Doe (plaintiff) was raped by an unidentified assailant on a portion of property owned by Manheimer (defendant) that was shielded from the sidewalk and street by overgrown bushes and grasses. The property is in a high crime area. Another rape occurred in a nearby building about three months before Doe’s rape. Manheimer’s mother had also been robbed in a liquor store on the property. Doe suffered severe emotional and psychiatric problems from the rape, and brought suit against Manheimer. Doe claims that Manheimer knew or should have known that a third party in a high crime area might use the overgrown vegetation to conceal crimes, and that the overgrowth contributed to the occurrence and duration of the assault against her. The jury found for Doe, but the trial court set aside the verdict, finding that Doe had failed to establish proximate cause as a matter of law. The trial court acknowledged that the rape probably would not have occurred where it did in the absence of the overgrowth, but determined that the rape was the supervening cause of Doe’s injuries.

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