People shopping for the holidays – or really any time – have an expectation that they’ll be reasonably safe when they go to the store. That means the boxes will be safely stacked, spills will be cleaned up and the walkways cleared of debris or other hazards. It also means that businesses take care to avoid creating a condition that would invite violent crime on customers.
Failure to provide adequate security – whether in the form of armed guards or staff or lighting – is a form of premises liability. That means if you suffer a violent attack while at a shopping center, the store could be responsible to pay you damages. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to security, though, and that’s where these cases can get tricky. One of the ways that plaintiffs can prove the store knew or should have known about the risk is by showing a pattern of similar activity in the recent past either on site or nearby or at similar kinds of stores.
Recently, there has been scrutiny on one of the largest retailers in the country to address ongoing problems with crime at it stores that have drained law enforcement resources, bled into neighboring communities and jeopardized the safety of customers. Bloomberg recently chronicled the issue. This time, it’s labor activists pushing for action from the corporation. Specifically, the labor groups want the retailer to improve security in its stores and in its parking lots nationwide. Continue reading