Articles Posted in Negligent Security


Eckerd College in St. Petersburg is currently being sued for negligence after the lawsuit claims that it failed to keep the campus safe from intruders which is what led to the rape of a student.

The suit was filed Dec. 2 in district court by a former student who said she was raped in October 2017 by a man who was able to follow her into the bathroom of a friend’s room at a campus residential hall.

Police investigated the sexual assault and determined that the alleged attacker as well as another person managed to gain access to the campus by jumping the perimeter fence.



A woman has filed a lawsuit that alleges employees at a Mexican restaurant and nightclub in Chicago escorted her to an alley behind the business and stood by as a man allegedly sexually assaulted her while she was intoxicated. 

No arrests have been made in the incident, which allegedly occurred October 18 behind El Hefe Chicago at 15 West Hubbard Street, commonly known as El Hefe.

According to lawyers who filed a lawsuit against the business on behalf of the woman, they believe the alleged assailant either works at the business or knows someone on the staff. 

On Wednesday, a judge ordered El Hefe to preserve any potential evidence pertaining to the alleged assault from that night, including surveillance video.

The woman’s lawyers released a security camera video, which they say Chicago police obtained from a nearby business. The video appears to show a man guiding a stumbling woman down an alley as two other men stand by a doorway.

El Hefe has not responded for comment, but the business posted a statement on Facebook saying its security staff did not witness a sexual assault.

“On the evening of October 18, a female guest became ill inside El Hefe and, per the venue’s standard protocol, was escorted by our security team to the back exit,” the statement said. “A male guest followed the female guest as she was escorted out back. El Hefe called an ambulance for the female guest and security remained with her until she left, alone, on the ambulance. During this time, our security team did not witness an assault in the alley. The male guest went back inside the venue and minutes later security witnessed the male guests leave the premises through the front door. We will work with law enforcement and cooperate in all facets necessary to help the authorities get the facts and enable a speedy investigation.”

Chicago police said officers went to Northwestern Hospital after receiving a report of a sexual assault involving a 23-year-old woman who was found unresponsive in the alley behind El Hefe. The victim completed a sexual assault kit at the hospital and Chicago police confirmed that she showed signs of trauma, a police spokesman said in a statement.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing, according to police.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, says the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, was having drinks at the bar when she was approached by an unknown man who continued to buy her drinks.

A bartender noticed the man make sexual advances and said her condition was “rapidly deteriorating” after consuming drinks the man purchased, according to the lawsuit. The bartender, who is not named, believed the woman had been drugged, the lawsuit said.

The bartender told the man to stop making sexual advances after the woman vomited at the bar, but the man replied, “she could not tell him what to do,” according to the lawsuit.

El Hefe security guards removed Jane Doe from the bar due to her “deteriorated condition” and ushered her out with the man into the rear alleyway behind the establishment, according to the lawsuit.

“The security guards that escorted the plaintiff into the dark alley with her assailant stayed in the alley while the plaintiff was sexually assaulted about 100 feet away,” the lawsuit says. No employee made any attempt to stop the alleged assault, the lawsuit says.

A 19-minute, 37-second video was taken from a business across the alley and given to the Chicago police. In the video, two men dressed in black stand by the back door to El Hefe as a third man, also clad in black but wearing red shoes, guides a stumbling woman out the door and down an alley lined with dumpsters.

The man and woman move into a shadowy area and it’s impossible to tell what they’re doing. The two other men go in and out of the door, standing outside for minutes at a time and sometimes approaching the spot where the man and woman appear to be.

Other people walk down the alley and several vehicles pass through. After about eight minutes, the man in red shoes walks down the alley and goes through the back door. Men who appear to be police officers walk down the alley and eventually flashing lights appear at the end of the alley.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages sought.

Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs can be legally responsible for injuries that occur on their property. These businesses have a duty to protect their patrons from sexual assaults, shootings, and other violent crimes. Sadly, rape, fights, stabbings, and fatal shootings occur frequently in or outside these venues, especially when alcohol is involved. Incidents like these can result in serious injuries or even death.

When reasonable security is not set in place, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs can be held legally responsible for violent crime that occurs on their premises. Our Florida Negligent Security Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have extensive experience handling negligent security cases against these establishments.

What Is Negligent Security? 

There is an area of law under the general category of Premises Liability Law that is known as Negligent Security Law. Negligent security describes a situation where someone is the victim of a violent, criminal attack, such as an assault, shooting, rape or robbery, while on someone else’s property. 

Common examples of negligent security include: 

  • A customer being followed to their car in a shopping center and mugged before they can get in their car
  • A person being robbed or shot while removing money from an ATM machine
  • An assault inside a hotel room
  • A robbery at a gas station while filling up your car with gas
  • An assault in the lobby of an apartment complex
  • Lack of bouncers at a nightclub
  • Lack of video cameras at a bar
  • Lack of proper lighting at a restaurant
  • A business failing to conduct proper background checks on employees

The law imposes a duty on commercial establishments to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. That includes the obligation to be aware of what is going on around them in the community. If robberies, shootings, sexual attacks, and/or other violent criminal activity have been going on within a close proximity to the location where you were harmed, the property owner has a duty to do something about it to protect you. 

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A woman was fatally shot in the parking lot of a Home Depot on Sunday around 9:15 p.m.

When deputies arrived they found a woman suffering from a single gunshot wound.

She was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead just before 7 p.m. Monday.

Investigators believe the shooting was drug-related. No arrests have been made and the Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about the shooting to call homicide detectives at (813) 247-8200.

A number of factors can make a property unsafe. A lack of security guards, broken cameras, and poor lighting are just a few things can make a property dangerous and more susceptible to a crime.

If you or a loved one is the victim of a crime on someone else’s property, including parking lots, you may have a negligent security claim, and you may be entitled to financial compensation from the property owner, property management company or security company. When crimes occur in shopping centers, parking lots, apartment complexes, hotels, bars, etc, property managers and security companies can be held accountable if they fail to provide reasonable safety and a guest is attacked or killed.

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A tenant is suing an Orlando apartment complex owner, alleging negligent infliction of emotional distress on the plaintiff due to a sexual assault.

The woman filed a complaint Dec. 6 in Orange County Circuit Court against the owners of an apartment complex, alleging the property controllers negligently failed to maintain a safe environment for its tenants.

According to the complaint, on May 31, 2017, the woman was legally in her apartment unit in Orlando when when an unknown man opened a damaged/broken sliding glass door while she was sleeping. The suit says the woman was attacked and sexually assaulted, leading to severe physical and mental trauma, plus continuing medical expenses.

The woman says the property owners failed to repair a damaged/broken glass sliding door despite numerous complaints and failed to install adequate security cameras.

There are terrible incidents of  sexual assaults, muggings and other violent crimes that happen in apartments and other public places. Sadly, many of these incidents occur because of inadequate or negligent security. The law requires property owners to take the necessary steps to ensure a safe environment for anyone who is on the property. This includes hiring security, placing security cameras, installing locks, repairing broken/damaged property conditions, and more. A property owner has a legal obligation to protect people against known dangers.

Many victims of violent crimes suffer emotional and mental injuries that far outlive their physical injuries.  Victims may suffer from significant depression and post traumatic stress disorders that leave them unable to resume their daily routines and activities for extended periods of time.  Because of this, it is imperative that any person who was the victim of a violent attack due to a property owner’s negligence gets the legal help they need before the statute of limitations expires.

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A Pinellas County customer is suing a Gulfport bar/grill, alleging negligent supervision led to him being attacked.

The man filed a complaint Aug. 8 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against the bar/grill alleging the establishment failed its duty to implement reasonable security and provide a reasonably safe premise to protect customers and guests.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 4, 2016, the man was physically attacked, beaten and stabbed by assailants who were patrons on the premises.

As a result, the man suffered bodily injuries, the expense of medical and nursing care and treatment and the expense of hospitalization.

The man alleges that the establishment did not supervise and/or monitor the unreasonably dangerous situation on the premises and failed to provide employees with adequate means to avoid, prevent or deter criminal activity on the property.

If you have been attacked in a bar, or were injured in a bar fight, you might be wondering if you have a legal case to see damages. Making a claim against a bar or nightclub for your injuries from a bar fight is a personal injury lawsuit that revolves around negligence. To prevail in a lawsuit against a bar for your suffering, you must prove negligence on the part of the establishment, and show that because of that negligence you were injured.

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This week we learned the Broward Sheriffs Deputies assigned to guard the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6, 2017 when a shooting occured that killed five people and injured another six, were not actually at their assigned posts. Instead, they were in a nearby office full of balloons and cake for a retirement party.

A Virginia Beach woman, who lost her husband in this shooting, is suing BSO, Delta Airlines and the security firms charged with protecting the airport.

The lawsuit asserts that in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, as her husband’s body still lay on the floor of the airport, she was hustled into that party room. She waited there for hours, she said, as law enforcement investigated the scene.

In the chaos after the shooting, she and another spouse of a shooting victim were shuttled from room to room inside the airport while police swarmed outside. One of those offices was festooned with balloons and a cake. The shooter pleaded guilty to the killings in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. He faces five life sentences at his Aug. 17 sentencing hearing.

That was the room where BSO deputies were celebrating a fellow detective’s retirement instead of guarding baggage claim when the shooting took place, the lawsuit alleges.

Airports, just like all other businesses, have a duty to maintain a safe environment. They have a duty to protect their customers/guests from any foreseeable crime or criminal activity, which means having security officers and security cameras.

Negligent security lawsuits matter because they hold the wrongdoer accountable for their actions. Whoever was in control or had the opportunity to use control of the property would be liable in a negligent security case. This could be the person or business that owns the property. In this case, the airline and the security company are being sued as being the responsible entities.

In order to successguly prove negligence, it depedns on what the crime was and if it could have been prevented. If it could have been prevented, it is relevant to establish whether the business or entity did anything in an attempt to do so. If the property owner knew of the danger and did nothing to protect people, then a claim for damages can be filed for personal injury or wrongful death.

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Miami Beach’s Catalina Hotel, the scene of the 2012 CW network reality series “The Catalina,” has been slapped with twin lawsuits brought by two female tourists who allege the resort’s manager escorted one of them to their room then sexually abused them both.

The incident, according to the lawsuits filed in Miami-Dade County circuit court, allegedly took place a year ago. The women are only identified in court files as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.

With prices in the $200 range and an open bar nightly from 7 to 8 p.m., the Catalina has become popular with spring breakers.

The hotel manager is accused of escorting Jane Doe 2 back to her room after she and roommate Jane Doe 1 “consumed several alcoholic drinks” during the complimentary hour.

When they arrived to the room, Jane Doe 1 was asleep on her bed.

Once in the room, the manager is accused of forcing himself on Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, including forcibly performing oral sex on both while Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 were in a nearly unconscious state, according to the complaint.

The negligence lawsuit faults the hotel for offering free booze without enforcing safety rules.

Hotel property owners have a duty to provide a safe place for guests and patrons to visit. Unfortunately, sexual abuse and other crimes can happen on hotel property, and when an assault or act of violence occurs because of unsafe conditions, the property owner may face a hotel liability lawsuit.

Failure to maintain a hotel property in a safe condition that is free from dangers entitles the injured party or victim to file a premises liability claim for negligence against the hotel. A premises liability claim is a type of personal injury claim that allows the victim to seek financial compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and various other damages.

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Detectives in the Upper Keys are investigating three reports involving hidden cameras found in women’s restrooms.

In all three incidents, miniature cameras hidden in coat hooks were found mounted on the walls in the women’s restrooms.

The coat hooks mounted in all three locations are identical to devices available for purchase on line, sold by various companies as “home security devices.” Detectives have notified Monroe County Public Works and Islamorada Public Works and asked them to check all the bathrooms at county and city facilities; Sheriff Rick Ramsay wants to let everyone know so they also can be on the lookout.

All of the devices found so far look like simple white coat hooks with the camera mounted behind it and utilizing a very small hole in the top portion of the coat hook for the lens of the camera. They use motion detection cameras inside to take video.

If you ever see one of these coat hooks in your hotel bathroom or elsewhere, leave immediately and call 911.

Hotels and the owners of other properties have a certain duty to tenants, visitors, and customers to keep the area safe and secure. When they fail to provide a safe environment and someone is injured as a result, property owners can be found liable.

Negligent security deals with an owner failing to show reasonable care for the safety of others. Lack of reasonable care can range from a robbery at an ATM on site or as this case shows, hidden cameras installed in hotel bathrooms.

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Texas club owners failed to amp up security for a show featuring two rival rap groups and an aspiring emcee was shot in the head, according to reports.

The man’s mother alleges the fight could have been expected.

The show was on April 9 and according to the Facebook post, it was for people 21 and over. The emcee that died was only 18.   

The court documents allege that the club put profit over the safety of patrons.  

“The show featured two competing and potentially violent rap music groups whose members are believed to be prominent in local street gang activity,” the lawsuit states.

A fight broke out at the event and spilled into a parking lot and that is when the emcee received a gunshot wound to the back of his head.

He died three days later in the hospital.

His mother is seeking more than $1 million in punitive damages for gross negligence, premises liability and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Nightclub owners are obligated to exercise caution and prevent guns from entering their club. When adequate security measures are in place, shootings and other injuries can be prevented. Sadly, security at nightclubs is not always taken as seriously as it should be, and when an accident that could have been prevented occurs, this results in negligent security cases. These lawsuits seek to hold the nightclub accountable for the wrongful injury or death of a victim. While no amount of money will bring the deceased back or heal an injury, it can send a message to the negligent nightclub owner and prevent any future incidents.

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According to police, a man was stabbed and critically wounded during an altercation outside a St. Petersburg nightclub early Sunday.

Just before 2 a.m., an argument involving several people inside the nightclub located at 2420 Central Avenue, continued outside on the street.

A witness told police they saw a 29-year-old man stab a 32-year-old man twice.

An officer on the scene arrested the man accused of the stabbing and charged him with attempted second-degree murder.

179875756_5ac7eb2447_zThe man that was stabbed was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg where he underwent surgery. He is listed in critical condition.

Violent crime is a serious problem in and around bars and nightclubs. The Tampa Bay Negligent Security Lawyers at Whittel & Melton routinely represent victims of violent crime and help them to recover financial compensation for injuries, and in many cases, for wrongful death.

Business owners have a legal duty to provide adequate security for customers and visitors in order to prevent foreseeable violent crimes. If there has been criminal activity on or near the premises in the past, then the owner of the property should have known that future criminal activity could take place and taken proper steps to implement adequate security measures. When the proper steps are not taken, then the business or property owner can be held liable in a civil personal injury or wrongful death case based on negligent security and they could be required to pay compensation to the injury victim or the family of the person killed.

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