Miscarriage Attributed to Series of Burglaries : Pair Sue Apartment Owner, Cite Lack of Safety

Times Staff Writer

A woman who claimed her first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage after she was victimized by burglars for the fourth time in six months, sued her former landlord Monday for failing to provide a safe apartment complex.

Terryl Wasserman and her husband, Craig, are seeking $250,000 in general damages in their lawsuit, which was filed in Orange County Superior Court against the Brooklake Apartments in La Habra.

In the lawsuit, the Wassermans claim that the managers of the 188-unit complex at 1401 S. Harbor Blvd. failed to inform them of past break-ins before they moved in, and also failed to improve security despite repeated complaints after the string of burglaries.

“We are both law students, so we realize things can happen,” Craig Wasserman said in an interview Monday. “We aren’t lawsuit crazy. We just got to the point where we said, ‘This was enough; something’s got to be done about this.’ ”


The Wassermans, students at Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, moved into the apartments in September of 1985. They said they asked about security and were told there “were no problems regarding safety and no problems regarding burglaries,” according to the lawsuit.

Man in Apartment

The two were married Dec. 22, and when they returned from a honeymoon in Mexico five days later, they found a man in their apartment who claimed to be a maintenance man, the suit says.

Their apartment was burglarized twice thereafter, their auto was broken into twice while it was parked at the apartment complex, and a storage shed was broken into once, according to the lawsuit.

Craig Wasserman said he “definitely” believed the miscarriage was due to strain from the security problems. He said it occurred three days after the second burglary of the apartment.

The Wassermans said they asked police to recommend improvements in security in their apartment, then asked the apartment manager’s help. Their request was ignored, according to the lawsuit.

Craig Wasserman said he once asked for permission to install a burglar alarm, but the apartment management refused.

Fear of Burglaries


“After the first burglary, it seemed like every time you left, you didn’t know when you came home if everything would be wiped out,” Terryl Wasserman said.

The apartment management could not be reached for comment Monday.

Lawsuits by tenants claiming that landlords failed to provide adequate security are rare, but not unprecedented. Earlier this year, an appellate court upheld a jury verdict in favor of an elderly woman living alone who claimed that the managers of her condominium failed to respond to a series of burglaries.

The Wassermans said they moved to a new apartment in Placentia last month.