Security Company Not Liable for Shooting Victim's Injuries
Obtained a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of a security company after a 14-day trial in the Supreme Court, New York County. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to provide adequate security at a New York City homeless shelter by allowing an assailant to enter the grounds of the premises—who did so by climbing over a perimeter fence with a gun with the intention of shooting the plaintiff. The plaintiff offered evidence that residents would enter the premises by climbing the fence on a daily basis and that over 600 weapons had been confiscated by security during the four-year period prior to the shooting. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendants had opportunities to prevent the shooting when the assailant had pulled a box-cutter during a fight with the plaintiff earlier in the day, which was the motivation for the later shooting. There was also evidence that the assailant had fired the gun on the shelter grounds hours before he shot the plaintiff in an outdoor courtyard. The plaintiff sustained three gunshot wounds to the back, resulting in injuries to the lumbar spine and internal injuries to the bladder, colon and stomach. He was hospitalized for a month and underwent two emergency surgeries to repair internal organs and remove bullet fragments from his spine. The plaintiff alleged permanent physical injuries as a result of the gunshots and post traumatic stress disorder.
During closing, plaintiff's counsel requested that the jury award $5.3 million for pain and suffering and past and future medical expenses. The jury sided with the defense and found that the shooting did not occur as a result of any act or omission on the part of the security company and accepted the argument that the intentional criminal act of the assailant was the intervening and sole cause of the shooting.