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  • Writer's pictureClaude Ball

Analyzing Recent Negligent Security Cases and Their Implications in Premises Liability Law

The legal landscape of premises liability, particularly negligent security, has been highlighted in recent rulings by the Georgia Supreme Court. These cases underscore the responsibility of property and business owners to provide adequate security measures to protect patrons from foreseeable harm, including criminal acts. This article delves into the nuances of these cases and their impact on premises liability law.


Understanding Negligent Security as a Premises Liability Issue


Negligent security falls under the broader category of premises liability. It refers to a situation where a property or business owner fails to implement sufficient security measures, leading to a visitor sustaining injuries from a foreseeable crime, such as assault, robbery, sexual assault, or even wrongful death. The crux of such claims is the establishment of a duty of care by the property owner to protect visitors from potential harm.


Key Cases Reviewed by the Georgia Supreme Court


The Georgia Supreme Court's analysis of two pivotal cases provides insight into the complexities of premises liability and negligent security.


1. Case Analysis: Georgia CVS Pharmacy, LLC v. Carmichael

Background: James Carmichael sustained injuries during an armed robbery in a CVS parking lot and subsequently filed a negligent security claim. He argued that CVS failed to provide adequate security despite the store being located in a high- crime area.

Trial and Appeal: The jury found CVS predominantly at fault, leading to a substantial damages award for Carmichael. CVS's appeal was rejected, reaffirming the trial court's decision.


2. Case Analysis: Welch v. Pappas Restaurants, Inc.

Background: Following a fatal shooting in the parking lot of Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen on Windy Hill Road in Atlanta, the victim's widow filed a negligent security claim. Despite security measures like surveillance cameras and unarmed security guards, the Court of Appeals initially absolved the defendants of liability, ruling the crime unforeseeable.

Supreme Court Ruling: Contrary to the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of reasonable foreseeability in establishing duty of care, leading to a decision that a jury should determine the liability of the security company.


Implications of the Supreme Court Rulings


These rulings highlight the critical factor of reasonable foreseeability in determining a property owner's duty to prevent criminal acts. The court clarified that foreseeability does not require prior identical crimes. The balance between the cost and feasibility of security measures against the likelihood and severity of potential harm is key in evaluating the reasonableness of these measures.


Legal Representation for Victims of Negligent Security


At The Ellis Firm, we specialize in representing victims of negligent security. Our Atlanta-based legal team is dedicated to providing compassionate and effective legal counsel. We are committed to thoroughly investigating each case, determining liability, and advocating for the rightful compensation for our clients.


These cases mark a significant development in premises liability law, emphasizing the importance of reasonable security measures in protecting individuals from criminal acts. For victims of such negligence, seeking experienced legal assistance is crucial in navigating the complexities of these claims.

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