Under Maryland premises liability law, a landlord may be held responsible if its negligence caused a personal injury to a tenant. In a March 1, 2019 case, the plaintiff filed a Maryland negligence claim against his landlord after he was assaulted on the premises. A lower court held that under the circumstances alleged by the plaintiff, the defendant did not have a duty to protect the plaintiff from criminal activity. The plaintiff appealed the ruling to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.
The plaintiff in the case paid the defendant a monthly free to park his ice cream truck on its premises. After parking his truck one night, the plaintiff was robbed and shot multiple times by two armed assailants. The plaintiff argued that, due to a prior robbery that had occurred in the parking lot several years ago, the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to protect him from the foreseeable risk of harm of the robbery.
In Maryland, a negligence claim requires four elements: (1) the defendant was under a duty to protect the plaintiff from injury, (2) the defendant breached that duty, (3) the plaintiff suffered an injury, and (4) the injury was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.