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Seibert v. Vic Regnier Builders, Inc.

253 Kan. 540, 856 P.2d 1332 (1993)

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Seibert v. Vic Regnier Builders, Inc.

Supreme Court of Kansas

253 Kan. 540, 856 P.2d 1332 (1993)

Facts

Betsy Seibert (plaintiff) and a friend drove to Ranch Mart Shopping Center and parked in an underground parking garage. As the two were exiting their car, they were confronted by two robbers. When Seibert screamed, one of the robbers shot her. The robbers then fled. Seibert brought suit against Vic Regnier Builders, Inc. (Regnier) (defendant), the owner of Ranch Mart. Seibert alleged Regnier was negligent in not providing security for its patrons, although the assault against her was foreseeable. Seibert alleged that because of past criminal activity in Ranch Mart’s shopping area, plus the poor condition of the lighting in the underground parking lot, Regnier owed her a duty as a business invitee to provide security. The shopping center offered no security for patrons—no warning signs, video surveillance, or security guards. Seibert offered expert testimony that the security was inadequate and that appropriate security measures would likely have prevented the attack. Seibert did not offer evidence of prior crimes in the underground parking garage, but she offered some evidence of crimes that occurred in above-ground areas of the parking lot. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Regnier. Seibert argued that (1) under the prior-similar-incidents test used by the trial court, the court erred in holding that the prior incidents she cited were insufficient to establish a duty owed, and (2) the court erred in not applying the broader totality-of-the-circumstances test. The case was brought before the state supreme court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McFarland, J.)

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