I recently heard about a substantial personal injury verdict in Jackson, Mississippi against the owner of an apartment complex for a premises liability claim. The details have been not made publicly available, but it appears that the apartment complex owner was found negligent for injuries or deaths that resulted from an armed robbery at the apartment. The law does not require a hotel or apartment complex owner to protect a guest or residents from the actions of other guests. However, if the apartment or hotel owner is aware of the possibility of criminal activity occurring on the premises, then the owner is required to provide protection, such as a security guard. It is likely that in this case robbery or violence had previously occurred at the apartment complex, so the owner knew criminal activity was possible but did not do anything to protect the residents.
I litigated a similar premises liability case in New Orleans, Louisiana. My client’s daughter traveled from Lafayette, Louisiana to New Orleans for a wedding. No hotel rooms were available in New Orleans, so the daughter had to stay outside of town near the interstate in a somewhat dubious hotel. After she returned to the hotel from the wedding, the daughter was fatally shot and robbed by three men on the hotel premises. There was an unarmed security guard at the hotel but he was frightened and hid.
My client received a six figure verdict for her daughter’s wrongful death because the hotel owner knew there had been a history of robberies and assaults in the hotel and in the hotel parking lot and had not adequately protected the guests. The hotel had previously employed an armed security guard, but approximately 30 days before the woman’s death, the hotel owner had replaced the armed security guard with a less expensive security guard who was not licensed to carry a gun. The existence of police reports documenting prior assaults and robberies at the hotel and the fact that an armed security guard had previously been hired proved that the owner was aware that the guests could be in danger. The mother testified that she knew her daughter was dead as soon as she saw police car in front of her house – this was a just settlement but a horrible family tragedy.
The Alonzo Law Firm handles personal injury and wrongful death claims in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas. If you have a premises liability or other claim for negligence, we can help litigate your claim. Please contact us for a free consultation.