$2 Million Settlement
in Negligent Security Case Involving Apartment Complex that Didn’t Remove
Problem Resident Before He Stabbed Plaintiff 12 Times
Pompano Beach, FL –
Patricia Norris never knew the danger she entered when she moved to the Palm
Aire Gardens Apartments in late 2016. For nearly ten months the manager
of the complex had received complaints from multiple young female residents that
a resident named Charles Gipson was threatening, harassing, and stalking them.
One resident even took out a restraining order against him. Despite the
warnings, neither the Palm Aire Gardens Condominium Association nor property
managers (First Service Residential Florida) took any steps to keep residents
safe from Gipson.
How Safe Is the Apartment You Want to Rent? Key Questions to Ask a Landlord Before Signing a Lease
A sense of security and safety for you and your family is key to making a house feel like a home.
Unfortunately, many landlords don’t provide, and in some cases aren’t legally required to share, crime and safety information to a potential tenant.
“Along with costs and amenities, tenants should be prepared to ask a variety of questions about safety measures before signing a lease and moving into a new apartment or home” says Michael Haggard. Haggard is the Managing Partner of The Haggard Law Firm (www.haggardlawfirm.com) which has made a mark successfully representing tenants who are injured or killed by someone committing a crime that could have been prevented if the landlord of the property where the crime occurs had taken proper security measures.
Halloween is one of the more interesting celebrations in the United States and throughout much of the world. For a few hours one night of the year, generally beginning at dusk, children of all ages transform into their favorite ghoul, villain, superhero, princess or idol. They have a license to collect as much candy as the human body could possibly consume in a dizzyingly short period, and will likely go to bed sated on a meal fit for only Willy Wonka.
The more than 22,000 security professionals from around the world attending this year's American Society For Industrial Security (ASIS) Conference will have three opportunities to learn how to avoid finding themselves on the wrong end of a negligent security lawsuit.
The Haggard Law Firm's Michael Haggard and Todd Michaels are leading three different seminars/presentations during the 4-day conference in Las Vegas.
On Monday, September 24th, Haggard and Michaels will present "The Nightmare that Won't End: A Negligent Security Mock Trial."
Tuesday, September 25th, Haggard will lead the seminar "Security Protocols and Procedures: Tips on How to Avoid Losses in the Courtroom." Later that...
(Pictured Above from Left to Right, Following Thursday’s Verdict: Haggard Law’s Todd Michaels, Champion Legal’s Dan Karanikis, Client Nick Pastor, co-counsel Robert Solomon of Saban and Solomon, Haggard Law’s James Blecke)
Broward County Jury Blames Longtime Las Olas Hotspot for Shooting and Beating of Patron, Orders Business to Pay Victim Nearly $1.2 Million
Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Following a 9 day trial, a Broward County jury agreed that management of longtime Las Olas hotspot Mangos could have prevented the beating and shooting of a man if it had adequate security measures in place. The victim (plaintiff) Nicolas Pastor, was awarded $1.182 Million for the injuries he says altered the course of his life.
The incident occurred March 24, 2012. Pastor was alongside a couple of friends waiting for a table at Mangos in Ft. Lauderdale. The manager of Mangos told the police that night that Pastor was aggressively grabbed by a man inside the restaurant who began viciously beating him along with two other men.
March 24th, 2012 – The scene outside of Mangos Restaurant and Lounge following the beating and shooting of Nick Pastor.
“Mangos had no security and no security procedures to deal with this fight. According to their manager, their only concern was pushing their customer who had been attacked out into the street with his attackers,” says Todd Michaels of The Haggard Law Firm.
Michaels tried and built the case with co-counsel Robert Solomon of Saban and Solomon.
Once the fight was in the street, one of the assailants pulled out a pistol and shot Pastor. The then 32-year-old man was rushed to Broward General Hospital where doctors completed emergency lifesaving procedures including an exploratory laparotomy and a thoracotomy. During the trial, Michaels and Solomon made clear that six years later the attack on their client shattered his life-limiting his ability to work, to sleeping, and restricting his ability to play with his son.
On August 16th, 2018 The Haggard Law Firm will present Winning Case Strategies in Premises Liability, a FREE CLE Credit Seminar. The event will take place from 1 to 5pm at the Doubletree Jacksonville Riverfront. To RSVP for the seminar, email or call Stacy at firstname.lastname@example.org 305.446.5700
Common Conditions that Give Rise to a Premises Liability Case
by Douglas Mccarron
In my experience, the most common condition in any premises liability case is the lack of guardianship of the property. In most instances, the property owner and/or manager fails to put in place policies and procedures that ensure that the premises is kept in a reasonably safe condition. For example, in many negligent security cases it becomes obvious that the owner and management fail to do anything that assesses violent crime occurring at the property. Without knowing what type of crime is happening, it is nearly impossible to know what type of security measures are needed. How can the owner make decisions about access control, manned security, and surveillance cameras, if they have failed to gather the crime statistics for the property and the surrounding area? The answer is simple, they do not know and consequently violent crime continues to victimize the property’s guests and invitees. In slip and fall cases, many properties fail to ensure that their employees follow the internal policies and procedures to maintain the property in a safe manner. This leads to dangerous conditions being left on the property for an unacceptable amount of time.
If property owners simply prepare policies and procedures for their employees to follow and have appropriate supervision to ensure that the policies and procedures are being followed, then the most dangerous conditions would cease to exist. Obviously, financial considerations come into play for the property owners. In developing a premises liability case, it is important to discover exactly what property owners are failing to do and why they are failing to do it. Jurors do not appreciate property owners turning a blind eye and pleading ignorance. Jurors also do not accept that the owners do not want to put the necessary resources (money) into the property to make it safe.
Every trial lawyer understands the significance of creating and developing a strong, clear theme for their case at trial. The theme of your case initiates a tone towards your Case-in-Chief and if powerful enough, it will dictate which fork in the road, favorable or unfavorable to your client, the jury takes.
Opening statement is the second opportunity the trial lawyer has to begin planting the seed of bias in favor of his or her client—seasoned and skilled trial lawyers understand voir dire is really the first opportunity. It is critical to communicate to the jury and ingrain within each member of the jury a persuasive and powerful theme. Why? Once your theme is etched into the minds of the jury, each juror will begin to look for evidence that supports that theme. If a particular piece of evidence contradicts that theme they will likely discard that piece of evidence or they may not associate as much credence with it as they would have had it fit with your theme. This is vital to the outcome of your case. The theme essentially summarizes your case for the jury. Whether it is a short phrase or one word, the theme should capture the case theory, tone and the area of focus for the jury. The theme should be simple and easy to understand. I can share with you a case example in a recent trial of The Haggard Law Firm—the case of Trinard Snell.
Our firm tried the negligent security case against a gas station owner and operator, which resulted in a $5.7 million dollar verdict on behalf of the deceased Plaintiff and his survivors. Understanding the importance of a clear theory and a memorable, persuasive theme, we began opening statement with our theme— inadequate security on a crime-ridden property.
The case theme was presented to the jury at the very beginning of opening statement, repeated throughout the entire opening statement and reiterated at the end. Why? A concept in psychology—primacy, and recency—tells us that order is important! The primacy effect is described as the ability of an individual to recall information better that was presented earlier rather than later. The recency effect is described as the ability of an individual to remember information presented most recently to them better than information that was presented earlier. When you combine the two, optimal information recollection is achieved. Therefore, at minimum, the jury must here your theme at the beginning and at the end of your presentation.
Haggard Law Firm trial lawyer and Managing Partner, Michael Haggard email MAH@HaggardLawFirm.com
Testimony and Evidence Presented
After your jury has been indoctrinated with the theme of your case through voir dire and opening statement, you must keep the jury on that same track during the presentation of the oral testimony and physical evidence. Depending on the length of the trial, the jury will hear days to weeks of testimony. It is their job to sort through the evidence presented and make a just decision at the end of the trial. After weeks of testimony, jurors often become overwhelmed with the volume of information and evidence presented. It is the trial lawyer’s job to organize this testimony and evidence presented to the jury in a manner that diminishes this information overload. I use the analogy of a train on a train track to best describe this concept. The theme is the locomotive. Your jury represents the passengers on the train. The trial lawyer must keep his or her passengers onboard throughout the entire trial until arriving at destination “Favorable Verdict.”
One way to ensure your train passengers are not disembarking is to reiterate your theme and theory of your case throughout each segment of the trial. Your theme should be clear, concise and easy to recognize. The theme is the lens through which your jury will view the case. It is imperative that the lens you provide to the jury is the correct diopter—representing a powerful and persuasive theme. An incorrect diopter will result in a hazy, unclear view of your case and perhaps an unfavorable verdict. Mock trials and jury focus groups are a great way to gauge the lens diopter your jury will need.
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As simple as this may sound, many lawyers have a difficult time successfully implementing these techniques. Through our years of law school and demanding casework at our prosperous law firms, our legal minds are trained to analyze the complexities and minutiae of the law, creating sophisticated legal arguments for opposing counsel and the court. The basic techniques of persuasive communication are often neglected due to the lawyer’s engrossment with the complexities of the legal issues of their case and their own familiarity with legal terms and attitude of simplicity. For example, the trial attorney that uses the theme of “Negligent Actions” will be rudely surprised by the jurors’ varying definitions of negligence. Despite the lawyer’s familiarity with the term “negligence” and its rudimentary elements, it is not so easily nor correctly defined by the jury. Through juror focus groups and mock trials, the lawyer can clear out the fog and rework the case theme prior to trial. During the deliberations at mock trials, I often hear jurors begin an explanation with “Personally, I feel that…” or “To me, this means…” These phrases are indicative of “information gap-filling.” Jurors will pull from their personal experiences to fill in the gaps. Those gaps are either areas where the jury is confused or has simply forgotten the information presented. Regardless of the reason for the existence of the gap, the juror will instinctively try to fill that gap in order to make sense of the legal questions they are tasked with answering. This illustrates why trial lawyers cannot forget the basics and cannot neglect the importance of simplifying and effectively communicating those complex issues to the members of the jury. The skilled trial lawyer will be mindful of this. The skilled trial lawyer will have an engaging theme.
The Haggard Law Firm has been recognized by TopVerdict for notable results in 2017. TopVerdict recognizes U.S. law firms and attorneys who have obtained one of the highest jury verdicts, settlements, court or arbitration awards in the Nation or an individual State, in a particular area of law, and year
The $12 million verdict obtained by Haggard Law in Machado v Waves of Hialeah was named by TopVerdict as the number one inadequate security (negligent security) verdict and third highest premises liability verdict in Florida in 2017. The negligent security, wrongful death case was litigated by our Christopher Marlowe, Jason Brenner, James Blecke and co-counsel Alexis Izquierdo, ESQ.
This is the second straight year Haggard Law has earned the #1 Inadequate Security verdict recognition. In 2016, Brenner and trial attorney Douglas McCarron were recognized for the $1.7 million verdict obtained in Navas V Regal Entertainment Group. That case involved injuries suffered by a Monica Navas after moviegoers trampled her while trying to frantically escape a theater after a suspicious person started a fight days after the Aurora Colorado movie theater mass shooting.