Ten with Ben – Episode 8: Eagles Victory Party and Inadequate Security

Personal injury attorney Ben Schwartz answers a question from a viewer that went to Philadelphia to the Eagles Victory party after the Super Bowl. The question was, "if I am in Philadelphia and these hooligans on the street bring down the light post and it lands on my head and it injures me, do I have a right to sue?"

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Thanks for joining us today. We are going to answer a question from Janelle in Havertown, Pennsylvania. Janelle wrote in, she said that she went to the Philadelphia Super Bowl party after the Super Bowl. She was shocked, because in the area where she was, people were acting crazy. She wanted to know if something bad happened and she got injured while she was out on the street in Philadelphia after the Eagles won, what would the law say about her right to recover for her injuries? What would the law say about her right to have a lawsuit claim for money damages for her injuries? She said, essentially I could have been killed with all the mayhem that was going on where I was located.

I personally did not go to Philadelphia on the night of the Super Bowl. I did not go for the Victory Parade this week either. I went on the internet to see what kind of stuff I could see and I found a New York Post article called “Fires, mayhem, insane trust falls in Philly after Super Bowl win.” I just want to show you on my office computer what I am talking about. This is a video that is from the New York Post and it actually has the credit Devonte Cordero via Story Full, it gives him the credit for shooting the video. I’m going to play it for you. People are climbing up telephone poles trying to make the light come down. This is Broad Street in Philadelphia, people are on top of the Ritz-Carlton taking trust falls off the roof. Anyways…you get the picture. If you want to see some more of that crazy stuff, just Google the article from New York Post and you will see what I am talking about.

Basically, here is what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about inadequate security. If you are a citizen, you are peaceful, you are an innocent person, you are not looking for trouble, you are not causing mayhem or craziness and you are going to a business or you are going to an event where it is a business-related event. Let’s say you are going to a party or you are going to a show. If you are invited to go there to spend money on alcohol, to spend money on food, to do whatever, then the business that is running the show may have an obligation to provide you with security and to prevent craziness and mayhem from happening.

What I want to talk about today is the concept of adequate security or inadequate security. A lot of people contact my law firm with situations where they have been injured, or a family member has been killed. It is at a party, an event, a bar, a restaurant, or in some sort of business and so I think it’s good to just sort of give people out there who might be viewing this video a brief description of what I’m talking about and what type of law applies in this situation.

I want to tell you that if you are the business owner and you’ve got patrons coming, you owe patrons an obligation to act reasonably and to protect them from foreseeable risks of harm. I want to give you some examples, because that sounds a little bit like legal gobbledygook, but it really isn’t. I want to give you some examples so if you are watching this video and maybe you are a patron in a bar, in a restaurant, a hospital, you are a patient in a doctor’s office or you are a business owner or an event planner, you will understand what I am talking about.

Imagine that you are having a baby. You go to the hospital, you give birth, your baby is born, you’re in love with the baby. You are exhausted so you go to sleep and the baby goes to sleep as well. When you wake up the baby is not there, because the hospital did not have any security measures and some crazy person came in and kidnapped your child. That would be a lawsuit against the hospital. This type of thing does happen. It is rare, but crazy stuff happens and there’s a lot of crazy people out there. Why they would steal a baby, I don’t know, but I guarantee it has happened numerous times. The hospital has an obligation to provide security for the newborns. The hospital needs to take steps because it is foreseeable that some nut job is going to try to steal a baby. So the hospital has a legal obligation to provide security officers, take measures like putting a band on the baby’s ankle that matches up with the band on the mother’s bracelet. That way they can keep the mother and the baby matched and mothers do not take home the wrong baby. If the hospital did not provide security, if the hospital did not do anything to prevent that from happening, then the mother whose baby got kidnapped would have the right to sue the hospital for inadequate security or negligent security.

Here is another example – Let’s say you work in a factory and one of your co-workers is a little bit mentally deranged. He is a problem employee and so the people that run the factory decide that they are going to fire him. They call him in one day and they tell him your job performance stinks, you are fired, get out of here. He says, well I am going to come back and I am going to bring my gun and I will show you who’s boss. The factory owners or managers do not do anything and that nut job comes back and starts shooting up the place. The families of the people who get shot have a lawsuit against the nut job who brought the gun in the premises. They also have a lawsuit against the factory owners and factory managers who knew he might come back with a gun and did not take any steps to secure the premises. They did not take any steps to have private security, to have police on promises. That is a good example of negligent security or inadequate security.

These examples come up all the time. I will give you another example – Let’s say you go to a show in a bar or a concert venue and the concert venue is in the bad part of town. They need a lot of space to have a concert venue so they go somewhere where the rent is cheap. The problem with this concert venue is that the owners of the concert venue, the owners of this bar, know that there tends to be gang activity inside their bar on Saturday nights and Friday nights and they don’t hire security personnel, or they don’t hire enough security personnel. While you are there at the show, there is gang activity and there are gunshots and you end up getting shot. You are going to have the right to sue the criminals that shot you. You are also going to have the right to sue the bar owner who knew there was likely going to be criminal activity in his bar and he did not hire off-duty police, or enough security personnel, to prevent this from happening. He did not put up metal detectors to prevent firearms. So this is another example of an inadequate security case. We get calls for these cases all the time.

If you are out there in the community, I think it is good to know that this is a thing. It is good to sort of wrap your head around this because you will know it when you see it often times. It is just good to be able to put a label on it so that you can articulate what it is that you see. If you are the victim of it, it is good to be able to articulate it so that you can find the right attorney for your negligent security case in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred or where the injury occurred.

Going back to the question, the question was, “If I am in Philadelphia and these hooligans on the street bring down the light post and it lands on my head and it injures me, do I have a right to sue?” I would say the question is, are you at an event? Who was in charge of bringing the people to the event? Who was in charge of organizing the event? Is there a person, or a corporation, or a company that organized this? Did you pay to be there? Should they have anticipated that there would be hooliganism and other crazy activity going on that could hurt somebody? Should they have anticipated it and taken steps to bring in security personnel, or was it just out on the street and it happens spontaneously? These are the questions that need to be asked. If this happened to you in Philadelphia, I am not a Pennsylvania attorney, but we do have Pennsylvania attorneys on staff in the law firm that could give you a free consultation if you are actually injured in something like this.

These are the questions that are going to come up in this type of case. I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz, this is another episode of Ten with Ben. Thanks for sticking with me while we talked about negligence security or inadequate security cases. I hope that you learned something or thought about something new that you have never thought about before. If you have questions for me, send me an email. Thanks for watching.

 

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