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Schaeffer v. Vera Wang Bridal House, Ltd.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

September 8, 1999, Decided ; September 8, 1999, Filed

96 Civ. 1250 (DC)

Opinion

 [*287] MEMORANDUM DECISION

CHIN, D.J.

In this case, plaintiffs Gerald Schaeffer, Edith Schaeffer, Alisa Schaeffer, and Jennifer Schaeffer, through her next friend, Edith Schaeffer (collectively, the "Schaeffers"), seek damages in excess of one hundred million dollars for personal injuries sustained during an armed robbery of defendant Vera Wang Bridal House, Ltd. ("Vera Wang") on March 23, 1994. During the robbery, plaintiffs Gerald and Edith Schaeffer were shot and seriously injured by two gunmen, who had followed the Schaeffers into Vera Wang with the intention of stealing Edith Schaeffer's six-and-a-half carat diamond ring.

The Schaeffers assert negligence claims against Vera [**2]  Wang arising out of the events of the March 23, 1994 robbery, based on Vera Wang's alleged failure to provide adequate security. Vera Wang moves pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, on the grounds that the Schaeffers fail to raise a genuine issue of fact as to whether (1) the harm suffered by the Schaeffers was foreseeable, and (2) their injuries were proximately caused by any negligence on the part of Vera Wang. For the reasons that follow, Vera Wang's motion for summary judgment is denied.

BACKGROUND

The Schaeffers are residents of Potomac, Maryland. During the week of March 21, 1994, the Schaeffers were visiting New York City. Gerald and Edith Schaeffer's daughter, Alisa Schaeffer-Halle, had recently become engaged, and the Schaeffers had traveled to New York to shop for wedding gowns at Vera Wang. The Schaeffer family's appointment at Vera Wang was scheduled for the afternoon of March 23, 1994. That morning, the Schaeffers went shopping at Bergdorf Goodman and Harry Winston's Jewelers, had lunch at Barney's New York, and then took at cab to Vera Wang, which is located in the Hotel Carlyle (the "Hotel") at Madison Avenue and 77th [**3]  Street, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. 1

 [*288]  The Schaeffers arrived at Vera Wang at approximately 1:30 p.m. They entered the bridal shop reception area, which was located on the ground floor of the building, and spoke briefly to the receptionist, Eva Kamberaj. After filling out an appointment card, the Schaeffers were taken upstairs to the second floor, where the sales area was located, to look at dresses with a salesperson, Jennifer Ciccone.

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64 F. Supp. 2d 286 *; 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13761 **

GERALD SCHAEFFER, EDITH SCHAEFFER, ALISA SCHAEFFER, and JENNIFER SCHAEFFER, through her next friend, EDITH SCHAEFFER, Plaintiffs, - against - VERA WANG BRIDAL HOUSE, LTD. and HOTEL CARLYLE MANAGEMENT CORP., Defendants.

Disposition:  [**1]  Vera Wang's motion for summary judgment denied.

CORE TERMS

robberies, shop, Hotel, receptionist, intercom, foreseeable, door, ring, bridal, armed, button, perpetrated, customers, upstairs, possessor, shooting, arrived, genuine, buzzer, appointment, suspicious, proximate, reception, install, visitor, Street, panic, train, desk

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, General Overview, Materiality of Facts, Judgments, Evidentiary Considerations, Evidentiary Considerations, Scintilla Rule, Opposing Materials, Standards of Review, Substantial Evidence, Sufficiency of Evidence, Torts, Negligence, Proof, Real Property Law, Common Interest Communities, Condominiums, General Premises Liability, Dangerous Conditions, Duty to Maintain, Affirmative Duty to Act, Types of Special Relationships, Duties of Care, Duty On Premises, Reasonable Care, Insurance Law, Coverage, Real Property, Defenses, Duty, Failure to Act, Causation, Proximate Cause, Special Proceedings, Eminent Domain Proceedings, Jury Trials, Standards of Care, Reasonable Care, Trials, Jury Trials, Province of Court & Jury