Bledsoe Obtains Summary Judgment in Favor of Homeowners Sued By Intruder

On December 3, 2014, Alison M. Crane and Nicholas J. Bernate obtained summary judgment in favor of their clients in a personal injury action.  The plaintiff sued our clients, owners of a residence Foster City, for gunshot wounds sustained after he made an unauthorized entry into our clients’ home.

At approximately 4:20 a.m., the elderly homeowners were awoken by their son advising them that someone was trying to break into the house. In fear for their lives and the lives of their family, they provided their son with a firearm to protect them.

Plaintiff made repeated efforts to access the house by way of the front door. When he could not make entry he scaled a fence on the side of the house causing it to break. He then moved around the side of the house to the back and around the other side of the house before entering through an exterior doorway into the garage. After accessing the house, Plaintiff moved through several rooms before he was shot by the owners son in the dining room approximately 15’ from where the homeowners and their family. Plaintiff claimed he was heavily intoxicated, had no intent to harm the occupants of the home.

Bledsoe filed a motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s claims of negligence and negligent entrustment of the firearm. Judge Elizabeth Lee of the San Mateo Superior Court agreed as a matter of law, Defendants did not owe a duty of care to Plaintiff not to give their handgun to Joseph Balistreri in order to protect themselves from Plaintiff. Accordingly, summary judgment was granted in favor of our clients and against Plaintiff.