Articles Posted in Premises Liability/Negligent Security

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Nizzear Rodriguez (NY Daily News)

Nizzear Rodriguez (NY Daily News)

13-year-old Nizzear Rodriguez was reportedly shot and killed while sleeping in his Bristol Lakes apartment bedroom August 24, 2014.

According to New York Daily News, Mr. Rodriguez was sleeping in his Bristol Lakes home, only hours after celebrating his 13th birthday, when an intruder broke into his bedroom, fatally shooting the young boy. Police originally believed Mr. Rodriguez was the victim of a drive-by shooting. However, after closer examination, police apparently determined an intruder broke into the Rodriguez apartment and shot the child while he slept in his bed, between 1:00am and 3:00am.

It appears Mr. Rodriguez was the victim of mistaken identity. Per media reports, a Friday, September 12th hearing revealed the alleged gunman broke into the apartment “with the intention of killing a rival gang member who lived next door to Rodriguez, but entered the wrong home.”

Five people have since been arrested in connection with the murder.  Witnesses report one of these suspects was seen waving a gun around the apartment complex hours prior to the shooting.

Gang activity has apparently plagued the apartment complex, leaving many residents fearful for their safety. Kanisha Osorio, Nizzear Rodriguez’s aunt, reportedly told media that the family had been making plans to move prior to the shooting because they felt the complex was dangerous.

Mr. Rodriguez was a “top-notch student” at Carrollton Junior High School, according toPrincipal Dr. Todd Simpson. “Nizzear was a wonderful student, well liked and always smiling.”

Many in the Carrollton community are now seeking answers and justice in the death of this young man who had such a bright future.

Our Legal Take

While relieved the police have captured suspects in connection with this horrific shooting, The Murray Law Firm is questioning whether Bristol Lakes Apartments may also hold responsibility in this tragedy.

What security measures were implemented by the apartment owner and management following previous gang activity on and near property?

The alleged gunman was apparently seen waving a gun around the apartment complex only hours before the shooting. Was there a security presence on property at this time and, if so, what efforts were made to alert police prior to the break-in and shooting?

Is the gunman a resident of Bristol Lakes and, if not, how was he able to gain access to the property? What security measures, such as access-controlled gates, fencing, bright lighting, ID card systems, surveillance cameras, and security patrols, were in place to deter crime and protect residents at the time of the shooting? 

How did the intruders gain access to the Rodriguez home? What apartment security features, such as deadbolts, window and door security bars, and alarm systems, were available to protect the Rodriguez family at the time of the break-in?

The Murray Law Firm suggests it is possible that the owner and management of Bristol Lakes Apartments failed in their duty to protect young Nizzear Rodriguez. According to Georgia law, apartment owners are required to protect residents from any foreseeable harm.  For example, should an apartment owner or manager have knowledge of previous violence on or near property, they have a duty to implement extraordinary security measures to protect residents from future violence. Should they fail in this duty, the apartment owner and management may be held civilly liable for any deaths or injuries that occur as a consequence.

Given the alleged history of violence on property, the family of Nizzear Rodriguez may elect to hold the apartment owner and management civilly liable in his wrongful death. Claims of this magnitude, potentially in the millions of dollars, will demand the apartment complex finally make resident safety their first priority. Further, such claims will call on local officials and law enforcement to crack down on gang activity and violence in this neighborhood.  Perhaps, through these claims, many other young lives may be spared.

Photographs and a thorough inspection will need to be performed immediately before any evidence, such as broken fencing or surveillance footage, may be repaired, damaged or destroyed. The Rodriguez family should retain an experienced premises liability firm without delay to ensure all evidence is preserved and their best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims of apartment violence and property negligence and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 404.842.1600. Consultations are free and confidential.

 

SAC EM Update

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Police Investigate Greystone at Inverness Apartment Shooting (WTVM)

Police Investigate Greystone at Inverness Shooting (WTVM)

Bonos Dell was reportedly shot and injured during an attempted robbery at the Greystone at Inverness Apartments Friday, September 12, 2014.

According to WTVM News, police believe the shooting occurred during an attempted robbery at the Greystone at Inverness Apartments, located in the 1900 block of Inverness Way in Columbus, GA.

Mr. Dell was reportedly transported to Midtown Medical Center for injuries sustained during the shooting and attempted robbery. Media reports indicate his injuries are non-life threatening.

Columbus Police are still searching for a suspect.

Our Legal Take

As authorities continue to search for a gunman, The Murray Law Firm is questioning whether a potentially fatal apartment security lapse may have contributed to this horrific shooting.

Media footage of the scene reveals officers investigating with flashlights in what appears to be a very dark parking lot. What parking lot security measures, such as bright lighting, emergency call boxes and security patrols, were in place and working to deter crime and protect residents on the apartment grounds?

Was the gunman a resident of Greystone at Inverness Apartments and, if not, how did he gain access to the property? What access-controls, such as a gated entry, security guard, security fence and ID card system, were in place and working at the time of the shooting? How did these measures fail?

Georgia law requires property owners to protect all those legally on their premises from any foreseeable harm. For example, should an apartment owner have knowledge of previous crime on or near their property, they have a duty to take extraordinary measures to protect residents and deter future crime. Should they fail in this duty, the apartment owner and management may be held civilly liable for any injuries or deaths that occur as a consequence.

Should the owner and management of Greystone at Inverness have failed in their duty to protect Bonos Dell, he may elect to file civil claims for his injuries.  Claims of this magnitude, potentially in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, would demand Greystone at Inverness employ proper safety precautions to protect residents and guests. Further, such claims will send a much-needed message to all local apartment owners on the need to make resident safety their first priority

Photographs and a thorough inspection of the property will need to be performed on Mr. Dell’s behalf before any evidence may be repaired, damaged or destroyed. Mr. Dell should seek an experienced premises liability firm without delay to ensure all evidence is preserved and his best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience in protecting victims of apartment violence and property negligence and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 706.494.2800. Consultations are free and confidential.

 

SAC EM Update

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Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 12.47.12 PM18-year-old Georgia Southern freshman, Michael Gatto, apparently suffered a fatal assault inside Rude Rudy’s bar, just outside the Georgia Southern campus, Thursday, September 4, 2014.

According to WJCL News, Mr. Gatto was inside Rude Rudy’s bar around 12:30am Thursday morning. Apparently, an off-duty member of the bar staff got in a fight with Mr. Gatto. Mr. Gatto reportedly suffered head injuries during the assault and later perished from injuries.

Per news reports, police originally charged the assailant with aggravated battery. However, following a Tuesday autopsy at the GBI Crime Lab in Savannah, the alleged assailant is now facing felony murder charges.

Our Legal Take

The tragedy comes only a week after another young man was killed in a fatal shooting at Overtime Sports Bar, just outside the Savannah State campus. The loss of such young lives, so close to college campuses, has highlighted the need for tighter regulations on off-campus bars and nightclubs.

The Murray Law Firm is now questioning whether a fatal security lapse at Rude Rudy’s may have contributed to the death of Mr. Gatto:

Mr. Gatto was only 18-years-old inside the off-campus bar. What age restrictions are in place at Rude Rudy’s? How does the bar enforce these age restrictions, particularly given their close proximity to Georgia Southern?

What efforts were made by bar security and management to stop the fight and deescalate the situation prior to violence? What efforts were made to safely and separately evacuate both parties from the bar property at the first sign of a dispute? Were security and surveillance cameras placed inside the bar to deter violence?

Following the tragedy outside the Savannah State campus one week ago, what efforts were made by the owner and management of Rude Rudy’s to prevent such violence from their off-campus bar? Were age restrictions and enforcement increased? Was a police presence, additional security or surveillance camera implemented?

Georgia law requires property owners to protect patrons from foreseeable harm. For example, should a nightclub or restaurant owner have knowledge of previous crime on or near property, they have a duty to implement extraordinary security precautions to deter future violence and protect patrons. Considering the off-campus location of Rude Rudy’s, the owner and management have a particular responsibility to ensure the safety of underage students by implementing proper security and enforcement of age restrictions.

Given the recent violence at other off-campus bars, The Murray Law Firm suggests it is possible the owner and management of Rude Rudy’s failed in their duty to protect Michael Gatto. If so, the family of Mr. Gatto may elect to hold the property owner and management civilly liable in his wrongful death. Such claims will demand Rude Rudy’s finally make patron safety, and the safety of Georgia Southern students, their first priority.

Claims of this magnitude, potentially in the millions of dollars, will also call on state and local officials to re-evaluate off-campus bar and nightclub restrictions throughout the state. If off-campus bar owners intend to attract student patrons, they must also take proper security measures to protect them. Through these legal claims, many other young lives may be spared.

Photographs and a thorough inspection of the property will need to be performed on behalf of the Gatto family to ensure all evidence, such as surveillance footage, is preserved and their best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims of nightclub violence and property negligence and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 912.385.9690. Consultations are free and confidential.

SAC EM Update