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Our Firm Wins Multimillion Dollar Verdict for Victim in Negligent Security Case


When a crime happens on the premises of a business, you may already know that criminal law comes into play, and that the responsible party is, at least in part, the person or people who have committed the crime. But you may not realize that businesses can be sued in civil court for injuries that happen to their customers (or in the case of landlords, to their tenants) as a result of criminal activity.

When Are Property Owners Liable for Criminal Activity?

The law recognizes that if criminal activity is foreseeable, and if something could have been done to minimize the likelihood of a crime occurring, a property owner (a business or landlord generally) must take reasonable measures to try to protect their customers and avoid the crime from happening.

The law recognizes that while people who commit crimes are responsible for injuries to innocent victims, so too do businesses have an obligation to do what they can to avoid crime. Sometimes, what businesses should or should not have done to avoid a criminal incident that ends up hurting someone requires the testimony of expert security specialists to testify as to what kind of security is reasonable given the size of the business, and the crime history on or around the property.

When businesses fail to take measures to prevent or discourage crime and someone is ultimately injured, property owners can be sued under the legal cause of action called negligent security.

The duty to take adequate protective measures mainly arises when injury is caused to those who are legally on someone’s property, but there are instances where businesses must protect known trespassers as well.

Examples of Negligent Security

There are many examples of negligent security:

  • A mall with a history of crime in its parking lot that fails to have security guards patrolling the area.
  • A landlord that fails to keep adequate locks on tenant doors, or to secure the premises from the outside community where the surrounding area has a high crime rate.
  • A bar or nightclub that fails to have security in a parking lot, or which knowingly allows drunk, rowdy, or potentially dangerous customers to loiter in their parking lot.
  • Hotels that fail to quickly and properly respond to distress calls or concerns from customers
  • Businesses that fail to deal with or eject rowdy or disruptive patrons

Our Firm Wins Verdict for Crime Victim

Our firm recently won a verdict of over $8 million against Cocos, a nightclub in Miami. Our client was a promoter for the club, who was shot after a fight that started inside the club spilled over into the parking lot. Cocos did not have the security measures that were needed to avoid a shooting that was foreseeable given the club’s history and the way it operated its business.

The case is a textbook example of negligent security—an establishment with a rough clientele, a high rate of incidents, and little or no security. The attitude of “take it outside” will not absolve a nightclub (or any business) of liability, and in fact, that attitude can be evidence of a business’ “look the other way” attitude towards crime on their property.

During the case, the nightclub even went so far as to redact portions of video of the incident when it was turned over. When our firm eventually obtained the full video, it revealed the truth—that our client had nothing to do with starting the incident and was an innocent victim caught in the crosshairs of a preventable tragedy.

If you have been injured on someone’s property as a result of criminal activity or inadequate security, contact consumer and injury attorneys at Jacobs Legal in Miami today to discuss whether you may be entitled to damages for the injuries you sustained. We can help you throughout each step of your case.


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