Nigido v. First Nat. Bank of Baltimore, No. 241

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtArgued before HAMMOND; McWILLIAMS
Citation264 Md. 702,288 A.2d 127
Decision Date09 March 1972
Docket NumberNo. 241
Parties, 51 A.L.R.3d 704 Salvatore NIGIDO and Josephine Nigido v. FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF BALTIMORE.

Page 702

264 Md. 702
288 A.2d 127, 51 A.L.R.3d 704
Salvatore NIGIDO and Josephine Nigido
v.
FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF BALTIMORE.
No. 241.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
March 9, 1972.

Page 703

Harry S. Shapiro, Towson (Shapiro, Peltz & Aversa, Towson, on the brief), for appellants.

Alva P. Weaver, III, Baltimore (Lord, Whip, Coughlan & Green, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellee.

Argued before HAMMOND, C. J., and BARNES, McWILLIAMS, FINAN, SINGLEY, SMITH and DIGGES, JJ.

McWILLIAMS, Judge.

In the Circuit Court for Baltimore County appellants alleged that on a day in March, 1968, Salvatore went to the appellee's branch at 25th Street and Kirk Avenue in Baltimore to make a deposit and to transact some 'other bank business,' that while he was there armed robbers entered and, in the course of accomplishing their nefarious purpose, they shot him 'about his body and limbs,' and 'without any fault or stimulation' on his part. Appellants averred that the appellee (bank) was guilty of negligence because 'its cameras and other protective devices were not functioning,' because the bank's building was not 'properly guarded,' because the bank

Page 704

'failed to take proper precautions to guard' its building, and because, 'in view of the history of bank robberies' at that location, the robbery was 'foreseeable.' They alleged also that because the bank 'was in a fiduciary capacity' with its customer it had a 'special duty' to protect him 'against harm caused by robberies, particularly in view of the fact that * * * (it) was aware of this history of robberies.' Salvatore claimed $2,000,000 in damages; together the appellants claimed $200,000 for their loss of consortium. Following a hearing Judge Maguire, on 8 July 1971, sustained the bank's demurrer with leave to the appellants to amend within 30 days. For want of an amendment to their declaration a judgment for costs in favor of the bank was entered on 27 August. This appeal followed.

[288 A.2d 128] Appellants have not cited, nor have we found, any authority for the notion that the bank owed Salvatore 'a special duty' to protect him against robbers. We think he was an invitee to whom was owed the same duty a shopkeeper owes his customer, i. e., to use reasonable care for his protection. Noll v. Marian, 347 Pa. 213, 32 A.2d 18 (1943). For fuller and later expositions of the status of business invitees see Bender v. Nalee, Inc., 261 Md. 82, 274 A.2d 85 (1971), Leannarda v. Lansburgh's Department Store, 260 Md. 701, 273 A.2d 149 (1971), and Western Maryland Ry. Co. v. Griffis, 253 Md. 643 (1969), and the cases therein cited. We see in the declaration not an allegation that the bank's premises, per se, were unsafe for the purpose for which they were being used, but rather that the bank was negligent in failing to have its premises 'properly guarded' against 'foreseeable' robberies. The allegation that this robbery was 'foreseeable' is supported only by the further allegation that there is a 'history of bank robberies at the said location.' But even if it could be said that the robbery was foreseeable it does not follow that the shooting of a customer was foreseeable.

While the averment that the 'cameras * * * were not functioning' might be said to insinuate some sort of a

Page 705

negligent act or omission, it might as readily be consistent with the exercise of reasonable care. In some banks the cameras contain film which is exposed only when an employee closes a hidden switch; in others the cameras take pictures automatically at regular intervals during banking hours. In larger establishments there may also be found television cameras which enable security officers to monitor activities in unsupervised areas. That the cameras 'were not functioning' while the robbers were in the bank does not mean, necessarily, that they were inoperative because of some negligent act or omission. Indeed, in some banks, so we were told, there are cameras that are nothing but dummies, set up like scarecrows 'to fear the birds of prey.' 1 As we see it, however, the fact that cameras may not have been 'functioning' can hardly have significance in the absence of a further allegation that the robbers knew that was the case. But even if the cameras had been running full tilt it is not likely the robbers would have been deterred even though the pictures taken might have led to their apprehension. The expression 'other protective devices' seems to us to be simply a grace note.

The allegation that the bank's premises were not 'properly guarded,' and that the bank 'failed to take proper precautions to guard' them are clearly conclusions of the pleader, utterly unsupported by an averment of facts. The very nature of the banking business requires the maintenance of an area to which the bank's customers can come to transact their business. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, for guards to filter the robbers from the hundreds of daily visitors to the premises. After all, robbers usually are reluctant to disclose the purpose of their visit until after they have entered the premises; until then they look like customers. If the

Page 706

words 'properly guarded' are intended to connote measures designed to bar the entry of robbers such measures could well turn out to be counter-productive, in that they might keep out most of the customers as well. It will be observed that appellants do not...

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21 practice notes
  • McClung v. Delta Square Ltd. Partnership
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • October 28, 1996
    ...Inc., 547 P.2d 963 (Okla.1976); Cook v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 354 A.2d 507 (D.C.Cir.1976); Nigido v. First Nat. Bank of Baltimore, 264 Md. 702, 288 A.2d 127 (1972); Radloff v. Nat. Food Stores, Inc., 20 Wis.2d 224, 121 N.W.2d 865 (1963); Goldberg v. Housing Auth. of Newark, 38 N.J. 578, 186......
  • Taco Bell, Inc. v. Lannon, No. 85SC209
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • October 5, 1987
    ...would occur at the Taco Bell, it does not follow that the shooting of a customer was foreseeable, Nigido v. National Bank of Baltimore, 264 Md. 702, 704, 288 A.2d 127, 128 (1972), or that Taco Bell had a duty to provide police Everyone can foresee the commission of crime virtually anywhere ......
  • Anderson v. Meadowcroft, No. 144
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1994
    ...Rule 2-305 because the allegations were simply conclusory and not factual); Nigido v. First Nat'l Bank, 264 Md. Page 231 702, 708-11, 288 A.2d 127 (1972) (plaintiff must allege facts, not merely conclusions, to state a cause of JUDGMENT AFFIRMED, WITH COSTS. --------------- 1 Francis was ac......
  • Dalmo Sales of Wheaton, Inc. v. Steinberg, Nos. 121
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • October 18, 1979
    ...cause, and foreseeability have often combined to prevent a recovery. See, for example, Scott v. Watson, supra; Nigido v. First Nat'l Bank, 264 Md. 702, 288 A.2d 127 (1972); Litz v. Hutzler Brothers Co., supra. Compare Restatement of Torts 2d, § The second and third categories do involve som......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • McClung v. Delta Square Ltd. Partnership
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • October 28, 1996
    ...Inc., 547 P.2d 963 (Okla.1976); Cook v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 354 A.2d 507 (D.C.Cir.1976); Nigido v. First Nat. Bank of Baltimore, 264 Md. 702, 288 A.2d 127 (1972); Radloff v. Nat. Food Stores, Inc., 20 Wis.2d 224, 121 N.W.2d 865 (1963); Goldberg v. Housing Auth. of Newark, 38 N.J. 578, 186......
  • Taco Bell, Inc. v. Lannon, No. 85SC209
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • October 5, 1987
    ...would occur at the Taco Bell, it does not follow that the shooting of a customer was foreseeable, Nigido v. National Bank of Baltimore, 264 Md. 702, 704, 288 A.2d 127, 128 (1972), or that Taco Bell had a duty to provide police Everyone can foresee the commission of crime virtually anywhere ......
  • Anderson v. Meadowcroft, No. 144
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1994
    ...Rule 2-305 because the allegations were simply conclusory and not factual); Nigido v. First Nat'l Bank, 264 Md. Page 231 702, 708-11, 288 A.2d 127 (1972) (plaintiff must allege facts, not merely conclusions, to state a cause of JUDGMENT AFFIRMED, WITH COSTS. --------------- 1 Francis was ac......
  • Dalmo Sales of Wheaton, Inc. v. Steinberg, Nos. 121
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • October 18, 1979
    ...cause, and foreseeability have often combined to prevent a recovery. See, for example, Scott v. Watson, supra; Nigido v. First Nat'l Bank, 264 Md. 702, 288 A.2d 127 (1972); Litz v. Hutzler Brothers Co., supra. Compare Restatement of Torts 2d, § The second and third categories do involve som......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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