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Abstract

The Supreme Court of North Carolina's decision in Foster v. Winston-Salem Joint Venture joins a limited number of decisions in which courts have allowed liability for injuries sustained through third party criminal activity because of the foreseeable nature of this activity. While applying existing caselaw, the Supreme Court of North Carolina adopted the position of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 344. The Court held that where an invitee alleges that he was on business premises for the purpose of doing business, and that while there he sustained injuries caused by the the criminal acts of third parties, that these acts were foreseeable and could have been prevented by the exercise of ordinary care, then the invitee has stated a cause of action in negligence. Finding it unnecessary that the defendant foresee the precise nature of the harm that occurred, the court also held that evidence of at least twenty-nine assorted criminal incidents in the preceding year was sufficient to establish a question of fact for the jury.

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