Violent crimes in South Florida are a daily occurrence. Stories ranging from bullets flying on South Beach to a shooting outside the Miccosukee casino, are all too common. While not all of these events are not preventable; the majority are. The issue of foresee-ability, and thus what preventive measures should be undertaken, is the determinative question in negligent security cases.
When formulating a budget, most business owners will ignore security costs. Lets face it, security measures can be expensive, and are not viewed as adding to the bottom line. However, businesses have a non-delegable duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. This includes everything from lighting to security. Thus, if the owner or operator of a business knew or should have known that criminal conduct was highly likely to occur, and failed to take reasonable steps to protect its customers from that foreseeable criminal conduct, that business may be liable in tort for the personal injuries suffered by its customers from a crime carried out upon the premises.
A recent story from Christmas day illustrates the point. As reported by the Miami Herald, Fernando Duarte, an Army Ranger, had just won a prize while playing the slot machines at the Miccosukee Resort & Casino. Moments later Duarte got into “a brief verbal altercation” with Mikey Tyquan Lenard and Kenin Sherrod Bailey inside the casino, the fight escalated in the parking lot where Bailey shot Duarte in the lower leg and wrist.
Duarte was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where he died during surgery, police said.
A Casino MUST provide adequate security in and around its premises, especially in a parking lot. It is foreseeable that patrons will have cash while walking in or out of the parking lot, and thus are at an increased risk of a violent crime.
A strong security and police presence would have deterred the shooters and more likely than not prevented this senseless tragedy.