Renters sue claiming they were not warned of previous criminal activity at apartment

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 14, 2013, 12:47pm

MARSHALL - Two Longview renters have filed a lawsuit against an apartment complex, claiming they were not warned of previous criminal activity at the apartments and were injured when an assailant burst into their apartment.

After suffering gunshot injuries, Eric Cathey and Tiffanie Burks filed suit against James Engle, Kathy Ann Lichtman and Kathy Ann Lichtman Revocable Trust-Kathy Ann Lichtman Trustee, on June 11 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

On Jan. 18, 2013, the plaintiffs entered into an apartment lease with defendants to rent an apartment located at 717 S. Green St. in Longview. 

According to the suit, four days later an individual burst into the apartment and fired a pistol striking Cathey in the face.

Cathey wrestled with the assailant to take the gun away, but the assailant fired another shot and hit Burks in the head. Burks was seriously injured, the suit claims.

According to the lawsuit, prior criminal activity, including drug dealing and violent assaults had occurred on or near the premises at 717 S. Green Street.

“The management of the apartment complex knew of such illegal activity and often initiated calls to the Longview Police Department to come to the premises as a result of such activity,” the lawsuit states.

The management of the apartment complex is accused of negligence for not warning the Burks/Cathey family of any criminal behavior or occurrences taking place and allowing them to enter into the apartment lease with no warning whatsoever.

The plaintiffs are seeking an award of damages for physical pain and mental anguish, medical expenses, scarring, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earnings, loss of consortium, healthcare, interest, and court costs.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-00482

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