What is the legal responsibility of a roommate if property is stolen at a party they threw?

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What is the legal responsibility of a roommate if property is stolen at a party they threw?

My roommate had a party (I was out of town) and several thousand dollars of jewelry was stolen from my room. He knew most of the people at the party but not all. Does my roommate have any legal responsibility for my loss?

Asked on December 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In almost all cases, no, your roomate would not be resonsible for the loss: person A is generally not responsible for the criminal acts of person B. The exceptions would be:

1) Obviously, if your roommate was involved in the theft (conspirator, accomplice, etc.) he'd be liable.

2) If you could show unreasonable carelessness, or negligence, you may be able to hold him accountable, but this takes more than havinig people at a party he does not know--it's common, and therefore not unreasonable, for a host to not know all party guests. If he invited people he knew were thieves (e.g. had been arrested for theft) or who he knew had "issues" with you or coveted your jewlery, that could be sufficient to hold him liable; or if he took out your jewlery and was showing it around, that could make him liable; etc. It has to be more than just he threw a party.


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