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A woman who fought off an attempted rape in Manhattan is suing a scaffolding company for creating conditions that allegedly allowed her attacker to hide in the shadows.
The 21-year-old woman, from Great Neck, N.Y., claims she was attacked on West 75th Street, where Eagle Scaffolding Services had erected blue walls outside a construction site, the New York Post reports.
The walls blocked the light from a street lamp, which made the area "a danger and a hazard and a trap," the woman's lawsuit claims.
Because Eagle Scaffolding Services' construction wall obstructed street lighting and created shadows, it allowed the woman's attacker to "hide in wait and [be] hidden and invisible to passers-by," her lawsuit states, according to the Post.
The woman's civil lawsuit likely alleges negligence by the scaffolding company. To win a negligence suit, the woman must show the company breached a duty to her and caused her injury. In this case, she seems to be claiming that Eagle Scaffolding owed a general duty to create a safe environment for passersby on a public sidewalk.
Poor lighting and obstructed views can also come into play in lawsuits where crime occurs on private property. For example, landlords are generally required by law to take reasonable steps to protect tenants from foreseeable criminal activity, such as installing adequate lighting where needed. Knowledge of prior criminal activity in the area enhances a landlord's duty.
In the woman's attempted rape, her alleged attacker has not been caught. Eagle Scaffolding, based in Amityville, N.Y., could not be reached for comment by the Post.