Article by Daniel A. Levy, Esq.
As New Jersey attorneys who represent those injured due to negligent security, we are frequently asked if the owners and operators of a halfway house are liable for the injuries of fellow inmates and pedestrians around the facility who are injured by the inmates. The basics of Premises Liability and Negligent Security are discussed in our other article: Premises Liability. Community Education Centers, which is a private, for-profit institution that operates halfway houses, boot camps, and other similar facilities has been accused many times of negligence and violations that have resulted in severe injuries and, in some cases, death.
Negligent Security and Halfway Houses
We represented a man who was seriously injured in an incident at a Community Education Center facility here in New Jersey, and we are familiar with the laws and issues of this complicated area of practice. In our case, we were happy that we were able to help our client, even though it was a difficult case. Recently, there was a favorable decision in Federal Court in New Jersey (also involving a Community Education Center halfway house), which will further protect the rights of those injured by negligence at halfway houses.
In the recent case, Viviana Tulli was murdered by David Goodell, who was a resident at the Logan Hall halfway house. He had dated the victim in the past and was arrested for threats and assault of a girlfriend. Apparently, there were letters between the two while Goodell was incarcerated, and Tulli eventually stopped the correspondence relationship. Goodell then faked a seizure and was transported to a local hospital. He escaped and thereafter killed Tulli.
The issue in the court case was weather Community Education Centers has liability for those killer or injured by inmates that escape. The judge looked at prior case law and determined that halfway houses are charged with keeping inmates in custody. The facility argued that Goodell was on parole, so he was not really “in their custody” as far as legal liability is concerned. The judge rejected that argument, pointing out that the facility should have known about Goodell’s previous criminal history, including threats and assault on a girlfriend, and acted accordingly.
Finally, it is interesting to note that the judge rejected the argument that the facility is immune from liability. If the State was running the facility, there are a host of immunity laws that are designed to shield the local government and officials from liability. The halfway house argued that they were performing a State function and therefore entitled to those same immunities. The judge rejected this, holding that the immunity cannot be applied to a private, for-profit company that has acted negligently.
New Jersey Negligent Security Lawyer – Free Consultation With a Skilled Attorney
Remember, the insurance companies have teams of adjusters and attorneys who will do all that they legally can to avoid compensating injured people. We have been representing injured individuals and their families since 1922 and we are very familiar with dealing with their tactics. If you have any question or you or a loved one were injured, please do not hesitate to contact us for a 100% free consultation.
Raff & Raff, LLP
Attorneys at Law
30 Church Street
Paterson, NJ 07505
Tel: (973) 742-1917
Fax: (973) 742-2454