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Bar Facing Negligent Security Lawsuit After Shooting Death


A tax preparer was fatally shot inside of an off-track betting bar prompting a wrongful death and negligent security lawsuit filed by his family. The shooting occurred at 1 am when gunfire erupted inside. At the time, the bar was near capacity with 350 patrons inside.

Negligent security lawsuits are filed on a theory of premises liability which requires the plaintiff to prove negligence by foreknowledge. If the plaintiff can establish that the bar had cause to know there were security concerns on their property and failed to provide additional security, then they can be held legally responsible for the death occurring on their property. In this case, the plaintiffs will allege that the bar knew there had been assaults, fights, and guns on their property and failed to take any remedial action resulting in the death of a patron.

According to witnesses, the patron who was killed was not a part of the violence that broke out, but rather an innocent bystander. Another woman was injured with non-life-threatening injuries. The same place is being sued over a stabbing that occurred at the bar months earlier. Police are still investigating the matter and have not reported any leads in the case.

Understanding a proprietor’s duty of care 

In most cases, a bar or nightclub makes it onto the police’s watchlist after a shooting, stabbing, or other security incident occurs. At this point, the nightclub would be on notice to provide additional security and prevent future violence. A failure to provide adequate security, an overall security plan, or to address the situation in any meaningful way could result in the police placing civil sanctions on the location. They can also, of course, face personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits for any incident that occurs subsequent to the initial violence.

In this case, the spot has a long history of violence averaging about 168 police incident reports per year. But prosecutions stemming from the incidents are rare due to the large number of patrons inside the establishment, confusing or contradictory witness statements, and the high probability of valid self-defense arguments.

Why aren’t these locations just closed? 

They are sometimes. But it can be very difficult to enforce that order and closing the bar may not actually result in an improvement over the previous ownership. The government can also lock down the location, but that costs property owners money and makes the area less vibrant. It’s worth noting that among the other bars in the downtown area, this one contributed more police interactions than most of the others combined. They averaged one every other day just about. So we’re talking about a serious ongoing problem that isn’t being addressed.

Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Injured in a bar or nightclub? You may be able to file a lawsuit. Call the Miami personal injury lawyers at Payer Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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