If neighboring business leaves business unsecure and my business gets bulgarized as a result is the other business liable?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If neighboring business leaves business unsecure and my business gets bulgarized as a result is the other business liable?

Our business shares a dry wall with another business. The other business left their back

door unsecure and as a result my business was bulgarized. The thieves came in through

the drywall from neighboring business. The insurance company does not cover money that was stolen. I have asked neighboring business to reimburse us for the deductible and cash which was stolen. I have written a letter formally giving them 30 to pay for damages.

Are they liable for said damages since they left their business unsecure.

Asked on October 19, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

They are most likely not liable: there is no general legal duty to secure one's own property and/or business. Therefore, to establish liability, you would have to show that it was reasonably foreseeable (or logically predictable) that IF they left their back door open, 1) they would be burglarized; 2) the burglars would then cut through the drywall between them and the adjacent business (yours) to steal from the adjacent business. 
1) is probably something you can show or establish: leaving a door open can lead to *that* space being burglarized. But it is VERY rare for burglars to cut through drywall to steal from an adjoining location. Therefore, you most likely cannot show that 2) is reasonably foreseeable, and if not reasonably foreseeable, they would not be liable, since people and businesses are not liable for unforeseeable consequences.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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