Heard: May 2, 2019.
action commenced in the Superior Court Department on March
18, 2016. The case was heard by Paul D. Wilson, J., on a
motion for summary judgment, and motions to reopen evidence
and for reconsideration also were considered by him.
E. Lundy for the plaintiff.
Jeffrey C. McLucas for the defendants.
Present: Milkey, Sacks, & Englander, JJ.
sitting on her parked motor scooter on a public sidewalk in
the Roxbury section of Boston, Detra Holloway was the victim
of a drive-by shooting. She became paralyzed from her
injuries and eventually died from complications related to
them. Those responsible for the shooting were never
identified or apprehended.
brought negligence claims against Madison Trinity Limited
Partnership and Trinity Management, LLC, the entities that
operated the housing development adjacent to the site of the
shooting. She claimed that the defendants caused her injuries
by failing both to provide adequate security in the area and
to warn her about the dangers there. On summary judgment, a
Superior Court judge ruled in the defendants' favor,
agreeing that, as a matter of law, they owed no such duties
to the decedent in the circumstances of this case. We affirm.
history of Orchard Gardens.
shooting took place on a public road within the housing
development known as Orchard Gardens. The history of that
development plays a prominent role in the plaintiff's
claims, and we therefore begin by briefly recounting it.
area in question was once the site of Orchard Park, a public
housing project owned by the Boston Housing Authority (BHA).
Orchard Park was plagued with widespread drug trafficking and
violence, and it became "synonymous with crime." In
an effort to ameliorate this, the BHA in 1996 leased the
property to defendant Madison Trinity Limited Partnership,
with a separate entity, defendant Trinity Management, LLC,
created to operate the development (collectively, Trinity).
Under the lease and related documents, Trinity agreed to
undertake a significant redevelopment of Orchard Park, which
was renamed Orchard Gardens. Trinity redesigned the
development into townhouse-style apartments that had direct
access to the sidewalk and added more green spaces. As part
of the redevelopment plan, new public streets, owned by the
city of Boston, were constructed within Orchard Gardens.
Among those streets was Wheatley Way.
this overhaul, crime persisted in Orchard Gardens and, in
2001, Trinity decided to hire a private security company to
patrol the neighborhood. As part of the security detail, two
security officers were assigned to patrol the housing
development, particularly in areas where crime was most
prevalent, for specified hourly shifts three to seven days
per week. The Boston Police Department designated these
security officers as "special officers" authorized
to make arrests on Orchard Gardens' property. Such arrest
authority did not extend to the public streets or sidewalks.
Trinity also evidently posted "No Trespassing"
signs on the sides of some of its buildings, and installed a
surveillance camera near its on-site office.