Holden v. Johnson

2005 WL 1153739 (2005)

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Holden v. Johnson

Connecticut Superior Court
2005 WL 1153739 (2005)

Facts

Juan Villafane (defendant) legally owned a handgun. Juan kept the gun loaded and inside an unlocked dresser drawer in his bedroom, near a tray of loose change. Juan lived with his teenage daughter, Jessica Villafane (defendant), and allowed Jessica to take change from the tray. Jessica invited Carl Johnson (defendant) to the family home on multiple occasions when her parents were not home. Jessica sometimes got change from the tray in her parents’ bedroom for Johnson to use as bus fare when he left. On one occasion, Jessica allowed Johnson to go into her parents’ bedroom by himself to get change from the tray, and Johnson stole the gun. Johnson and Jamaal Coltherst (defendant) later used the gun to kidnap, rob, and kill Kyle Holden. Holden’s estate (plaintiff) sued Johnson, Coltherst, and both Villafanes for civil damages caused by Holden’s wrongful death. The estate brought a negligence claim against the Villafanes, alleging that the Villafanes were responsible for Johnson’s criminal use of the gun because they had negligently allowed Johnson to steal the gun. The estate argued that the Villafanes could foresee the general risk that an unsecured gun could be stolen by a criminal and, therefore, had a duty to keep the gun secured in order to protect the public. The Villafanes moved for summary judgment on the grounds that no evidence existed that either of them could foresee that Johnson was capable of stealing the gun and using it to commit murder.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lavine, J.)

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