Type of Action:Negligent Security Case
Name of Case:Undisclosed Plaintiffs v. Undisclosed defendants
Court:Jackson County, Missouri
Name of Judge:John O’Malley
Date of Settlement:February 14, 2008
Plaintiffs’ Experts:J.R. Roberts; Security Expert; Savannah, Georgia and John Pro, M.D.; Psychiatrist; Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Defendant’s Experts:Not disclosed
Attorneys for Plaintiffs:Sylvester James, Jr. and Scott Shachtman with the Sly James Firm in Kansas City, Missouri and Jason Rew andKim Roam with Cochran, Oswald & Roam in Blue Springs, Missouri
Attorneys for Defendants:John Waldeck and Meagan Patterson with Waldeck, Mateuzzi and Sloan in Leawood, Kansas and Michael Childs and Michael Townsend with Brown & James, PC in Kansas City, Missouri
Description of the case:On May 25, 2006, Plaintiff, a 70 year old woman, was raped in the parking garage stairwell of an outdoor shopping mall in the greater Kansas City area at noon. Plaintiff was planning on meeting two of her best friends for lunch that afternoon to celebrate a 70th birthday. After pulling into the garage and parking her car, Plaintiff entered the nearest stairwell and recalled seeing signs indicating that the parking garage was under video surveillance and patrolled by security.
Plaintiff then proceeded to go down the stairwell until she saw a door at the bottom of the stairs without any sunlight. At that point she realized she must have gone the wrong direction. As she began going back up the stairs, a man approached her from below and asked her if she was lost. She said “no” and continued up the stairs. The man then stated “let me help you”. Plaintiff responded by saying “I don’t need any help”. Within moments, the man darted up the stairs and grabbed her on the landing between the bottom level and the level in which she entered the stairwell. He proceeded to attack, rape and steal a few hundred dollars from the Plaintiff.
Although this shopping district had security patrol, there was no security present within the subject garage at and around the time of the rape. In addition, the security officer assigned to the subject garage spent an entire four minutes in the garage during the five hours that he had been working that day. During the four minutes that he spent within the garage, he drove up and down in his vehicle and checked the center stairwells, but never checked the stairwell where the Plaintiff was raped.
With regard to the surveillance cameras in the subject garage, there was a camera bracket in the area where the Plaintiff was raped but the camera was missing. Although a security officer noted that the camera was missing a year before this rape occurred, nothing was done about the situation.
When the manager of the subject property arrived from an out of town trip later that afternoon, he immediately went to the stairwell where the Plaintiff was raped and asked the security officers why there was not a camera in that stairwell. Ultimately, three additional cameras were installed in the subject stairwell.
In negligent security cases, the Plaintiff must establish that violent crimes were foreseeable. This is typically accomplished by analyzing the crime statistics around the subject property. In his case, the defendants’ own documents revealed that:
The subject garage was one of the three high crime garages at this property.
More than 50% of all the crimes in this shopping district were being committed in the garages.
Violent crimes at this property more than doubled in 2006 when compared to 2005.
The parking garages were not any safer during daylight hours!
Increased patrol was needed in the parking garages.
Video surveillance cameras reduced criminal activity.
Moreover, the Kansas City Police Department statistics showed that the subject property had 44 violent crimes in 2006, 43 violent crimes in 2005, and 54 violent crimes in 2004.