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Family Files Lawsuit After Shooting Deaths At Publix


A Palm Beach family has filed a lawsuit against Publix after a gunman opened fire and killed a 69-year-old grandmother and her toddler grandson before turning the gun on himself. The family holds the company accountable for wrongful death on the grounds of negligent security. The family cited over 40 incidents at the same Publix prior to the fatal shooting. However, the Publix in question had no security guards on duty at the time of the shooting.

Analyzing the elements of a negligent security lawsuit 

For a plaintiff to win on the grounds of negligent security, they must establish that the injury or death was foreseeable. In legal terms, personal injury lawyers will conduct reviews of the area concerning police reports, violent crimes, and shootings specifically. In this case, there were 40 such examples for the plaintiff’s attorney to include. Publix, however, failed to hire security to protect its customers. And now, two people are dead.

Foreseeability and preventability 

A recent grocery store shooting in Buffalo, NY is not the subject of a personal injury lawsuit. In that case, the grocery store did have security on hand. A security guard was shot and killed attempting to defend the public from the armed gunman. Since the gunman was wearing Kevlar, the security guard’s weapon proved ineffective. Lawsuits have been filed against the shooter’s parents and there are questions as to whether or not law enforcement responded quickly enough. A 911 dispatcher who hung up on a caller attempting to report the shooting has been fired.

Nonetheless, there are no lawsuits presently filed against the Topps in Buffalo after the shooting because the security guard intervened and would have stopped the shooter had he taken a headshot as opposed to aiming for the trunk. It just wasn’t enough.

At any rate, hopefully, you can see the difference. In one case, a grocery store responded to criminal activity by hiring security to protect the public and the security ultimately failed in its goal but not for lack of trying. In the other case, you have no effort made to protect the public even after numerous criminal incidents occurred and you have a viable wrongful death lawsuit filed on the grounds of negligent security.

Will the plaintiffs win? 

Cases like this generally settle. Publix can still believe that there is nothing that they can do to stop an armed gunman with malicious intentions. However, the fact that they literally did nothing works against them. Even if the deaths were not preventable, Publix was negligent for failing to respond to security threats. Personal injury plaintiffs need to establish that it is more likely than not that having security on-premises would have discouraged the shooter from targeting the Publix or allowed earlier intervention. So, the plaintiffs will likely get a sealed settlement award.

Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Payer Law files personal injury lawsuits on behalf of Miami residents who have been injured by recklessness or malice. Call our Miami personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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