Thursday, May 12, 2011

Businesses Must Protect Their Patrons

Pittsburgh companies, stores and universities are responsible for the safety of their patrons and students. This includes providing proper security to ensure the safety of the public. After all those people are only on their property to do business with them. When for-profit establishments needlessly endanger their patrons or students by not providing adequate security and as a result someone is hurt, they are responsible for the harm. These types of claims are negligent security or failure to provide adequate security.

Pennsylvania courts have held that if the place or character of a business, or past experience, is such that the owner should reasonably anticipate careless or criminal conduct on the part of third persons, either generally or at some particular time, the owner has a duty to take precautions against it, and to provide a reasonably sufficient number of servants (security guards) to afford a reasonable protection. Moran v. Valley Fore Drive-In Theater, Inc. 246 A.2d 875 (Pa. 1968). So if a store or business establishment (like a bar or club) should be aware of past criminal activity (assaults, batteries, thefts, etc.) they have a responsibility to provide proper security to keep their patrons from being harmed by future criminal activity.

In Pennsylvania, liability depends on showing that the property owner was negligent. Mandelbaum v. Fidelity Bank, 44 Pa. D.& C. 3d 121 (1987). But it is not necessary for the property owner to be specifically aware of the exact location on the premises where one may be injured by the acts of third persons, that particular persons were engaged in dangerous conduct on the premises, or the risk of the particular type of harm inflicted on the plaintiff.

For example, the knowledge of numerous car thefts or purse snatching is sufficient to put a proprietor on notice of dangerous conditions in its parking lot, even though it alleged that it had no reason to know that someone would eventually be hurt or assaulted. Morgan v. Bucks Assocs., 428 F.Supp. 546 (E.D. Pa. 1977). A jury question is presented if the evidence shows that the defendant had notice, either actual or constructive, of prior acts committed by third persons within its premises that might cause injuries to patrons. Moran v. Valley Forge.

If you have been injured at a bar, club, business, university by unknown individuals, the first question to consider is whether anything criminal had occurred there in the past that would necessitate the establishment providing security. If the answer is yes then you should consider contacting an attorney to explore your rights.

Because these types of cases often involve assault and batter I would recommend you read my previous articles on civil assault and civil battery. Share this post :
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on StumbleUpon
Share on Delicious
Share on Reddit
Share on Digg
Share on simpy
Share on Technorati
furl Share on furl
Feeds RSS Subscribe to Feeds RSS

No comments:

Post a Comment