The standard of conduct defined by a legislative enactment is usually a minimum standard and special circumstances may support a finding of negligence, despite compliance, if a reasonable person would have taken additional precautions. But when the facts pose a normal situation, within that contemplated by the enactment, it may be found, and can be ruled as a matter of law, that the actor has done his full duty by complying with the statute.
The guests had just returned to their room at the motel when they were assaulted and robbed by an unknown assailant. The trial court granted the motel's motion for summary judgment upon presentation of evidence of Las Vegas, Nev., Municipal Ordinance § 4-10-2, which the trial court found set the applicable standard of conduct for the motel. The court affirmed and held that the guests failed to present sufficient and specific facts that the motel could reasonably foresee or anticipate the criminal conduct in question and the probability of injury resulting therefrom as would be required under Nev. R. Civ. P. Dist. Ct. 56(e).
Did the trial court err in its determination that, as a matter of law, respondent motel met the required standard of conduct in protecting its guests from criminal acts of third parties by complying with the ordinance?
Appellants failed to present facts that would indicate that the case posed special circumstances requiring affirmative action beyond the requirements of the ordinance. So far as appears, the proprietor had no reason to suspect that an attacker was near the premises, there was no showing of a history of prior similar incidents, nor were the appellants deceived by the door's appearance. Finally, courts have repeatedly held that when a criminal act is precipitous, an owner will not be liable for injuries to invitees since the act constitutes an unforeseeable intervening force. Here, appellants failed to present sufficient and specific facts that respondent could reasonably foresee or anticipate the criminal conduct in question, and the probability of injury resulting therefrom.