Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jury awards $8 million in inadequate security case

While visiting my 82-year-old father-in-law in Miami, I saw a news clip about an $8 million settlement for what the teams team at Channel 7 termed security negligence. As someone who has spent a lot of time working for security firms, I find that term of interest. A quick search for the term brought me four or five sponsored searches from law firms that specialize in this form of litigation. All of them were based in Florida.

But back to the facts of the case. According to today's Miami Herald, Starsky Garcia, a 27-year-old man was shot to death in the parking lot of a North Miami Beach apartment complex almost two years ago.

The Miami newspaper noted that during a four-year period when Garcia was murdered by an unknown gunman, police recorded 24 burglaries, nine assaults, three shootings and two robberies at the apartment complex. According to the newspaper, the apartment management company responded to the growth in crime by not fixing a fallen fence or a broken security gate. Nor, did the firm add a security firm or security cameras, the Herald reported.

According to Douglas McCarron, the attorney who represented Garcia's family in the civil law suit, the owners "stuck their head in the sand and basically told residents they're on their own.''

Will this $8 million settlement motivate other apartment firms to upgrade their security? Sadly, it won't motive owners of companies like this one. The only solution is for a judge to require the ownership group to spend three months living fulltime in the complex in addition to their financial penalty.

However, this settlement could be the impetus for other businesses to consider an upgrade in their security system. While it wasn't apparent from the Herald article, who is going to pay Garcia's family for his death, I would suspect that there was an insurance company who will pay for this loss.

Security integrators, by convincing their apartment and multi-use customers, to upgrade their systems could help prevent future lawsuits. And in turn, having a more advanced security system could eventually lead to lower insurance premiums, especially if the property's staff is well trained on the equipment.


Sam said...

Good find, Matt. I think most residential and commercial integrators include the insurance benefit in their standard sales pitch, but having real-world ammunition like this for the power point can never hurt.

jaded said...

Additionally having a better security system for residential and commercial tenants could allow the owners to increase rents. Although locally rents are increasing due to the housing market declines!