Negligent Security

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Negligent Security

Jeannete Lewis has litigated multiple cases involving the failure to provide adequate security resulting in the victim suffering serious injuries or death. Landowners or those having control over property have a non-delegable duty to provide safe premises and, where crime is foreseeable, their legal duty may require the hiring of security companies, retention of off duty police, surveillance, proper lighting and landscape maintenance. Crime prevention through environmental design and an actual analysis of the risk of crime in a certain geographical area are also considerations for business owners when determining whether and what safety precautions are necessary for the protection of their business guests.

Crime is not just a matter for the criminal courts. Victims may, under certain circumstances file civil lawsuits seeking to recover monetary compensation for their physical and emotional injuries as well. Understanding what makes violent crime foreseeable and how to efficiently and effectively develop those facts are key to any successful case strategy and recovery. Jeannete Lewis has represented a host of victims and brought countless lawsuits on behalf of those injured victims including tenants, employees, customers, and guests against various businesses and entities including check cashing stores, banks, supermarkets, international resorts and hotels, landlords, apartment complexes, and restaurants. Victims have suffered rape, gang rape, robbery, homicide, stabbings, and shootings. By strenuously fighting for the rights of injured victims and the families of those whose lives were lost in senseless acts of violence, Jeannete Lewis has attempted to increase safety for the public at large.

Notable cases include:

Estate of CMG vs. XYZ Check Cashing Store – Confidential 7 figure settlement (Broward County)
A check cashing store employee was apprehended at gunpoint as she was opening a stand-alone Broward County storefront where a check cashing business was operated. Her assailant, having previously cased the store and its practices forced the employee through interior security features inside the store which were designed to protect the money kept in the back. No security features were utilized in the parking lot where the employee was most vulnerable and initially approached. The female employee was shot in the head and killed in the back of the store as the result of the store’s failure to safeguard its employees. A confidential settlement was obtained against the land-owner. Suit against the tenant – the employee’s employer, was not permitted due to the statutory workers compensation exclusion prohibiting lawsuits by employees against employers.

Estate of FR vs. XYZ National Bank – Confidential 7 figure settlement (Miami-Dade County)
The victim drove up to his bank’s ATM around 6 AM to withdraw money to purchase donuts for his co-workers. He was shot and killed in the process of making his withdrawal and notwithstanding that he gave his assailant his ATM card and the cash he withdrew. Suit was filed against the landlord of the building, the bank which was operated there and the company that serviced the exterior bank lights. The theory of liability was that the landlord had an obligation to provide safe premises in the common areas of the bank building; the bank had an obligation to provide safe premises for all areas it controlled and was responsible for the deficient lighting and overgrown foliage in the immediate vicinity of the ATM which condition was contrary to state statute. A confidential settlement was obtained after suit was filed on behalf of the victim’s Estate and surviving children.

Estate of BT vs. XYZ Restaurants, Inc. – Confidential 7 figure settlement (Miami-Dade County)
A promising young professional had just finished an early evening dinner at a chain restaurant, walked his date to her car and proceeded to his own when suddenly he was approached by one or more gun-wielding assailants in the restaurant’s parking lot. Though it was dark out, the restaurant’s cameras recorded the victim’s final moments as he attempted to drive away to safety. As the victim attempted to drive toward the restaurant, his assailant shot him through the rear seat window. The parking lot had been the situs of multiple car burglaries, prior robberies of restaurant personnel and was very dark due to overgrown trees which obscured what little exterior lighting there was. Suit was filed against the restaurant on behalf of the victim’s parents and estate.

Estate of RT vs. XYZ Apartment Complex – Confidential 7 figure settlement (Miami-Dade County)
A young adult male residing in the subject apartment complex was shot and killed by a local who frequently trespassed onto the property. The complex was rundown, the situs of many drug busts and prior violent crimes. However, it had no security personnel and little was spent by the property owner on crime prevention and mitigation. Suit was filed on behalf of the decedent’s five surviving minor children.

SB vs. XYZ Plaza – Confidential 7 figure settlement (Miami Dade County)
A young woman was kidnapped at gunpoint by two assailants as she walked to her parked car after leaving work at a restaurant in a strip mall. The assailants forced her into the back seat, drove away, made the victim withdraw cash from the ATM and then proceeded to take her to a remote location and rape her. Suit was filed against the owner of the strip mall and the security company hired to provide security for the strip mall. Although the strip mall owner had hired security, the security company did not have good procedures in place and exercised little oversight over its workers. A confidential settlement was obtained on behalf of the young victim.

Jane Doe vs. XYZ International Resort – Confidential 6 figure settlement (S.D. Florida)
A 16 year-old tourist was kidnapped from an outdoor pool area on resort property and taken off resort property to a remote area of the adjacent beach where she was raped. Suit was filed against the hotel owner and operators under the theory that they had no safety features in place to keep locals off the property and away from guests despite the need to do so based on past incidents. A collateral but major issue in the litigation was the fact that the young woman’s father had signed a release of liability and a forum selection and choice of law clause requiring the application of foreign law. A confidential settlement was obtained on behalf of the young woman.