A shooting spree left one person dead and seven injured inside a downtown Miami nightclub. Nocturnal Nightclub, in Miami’s Park West Entertainment District, has allegedly hosted “gangster parties” and has lax security, according to neighboring club owners, reported The Miami Herald. Miami police confirmed that the club had been rented by a promoter for the evening and no metal detectors were used.
The shooting occurred inside the club around 3:00am on a Sunday in a crowded second-floor room. Investigators suspected a rival confrontation sparked the shooting and not an alcohol-induced argument. The shooter had a seven-year criminal record including burglary, grand theft, forgery, petty theft, resisting arrest and assault and battery.
Shootings, stabbings and other acts of violence have routinely occurred in the Park West Entertainment District, located just south of Interstate 395 and just west of Biscayne Boulevard. Nocturnal has reportedly been more lax on security than other clubs in the area, some say due to financial troubles.
Inadequate security and premises liability lawsuits can unfold from violent crime in resort and recreational areas, including nightclubs. Premises liability may result from negligent security, inadequate security personnel, insufficient lighting, inadequate security equipment, or other causes. In negligent security cases, the plaintiff who has been injured due to a criminal act brings an action against the owner or manager of the premises or business. Those who are in control or in a position to prevent the incident where the plaintiff was injured are the parties who are most often defendants. The law governing these cases is derived from the general principle that those who own or possess property have a duty to protect users from accidental, negligent, and intentional acts of third parties.
Most negligent security cases turn on the issue of foreseeability: Was the incident reasonably foreseeable by the owner or business?
One of the tools used to analyze foreseeability is the crime grid, which has been held admissible at trial, and involves obtaining from a police agency a record of the service calls for the area around the address of an incident.
In some states, the “prior similar” rule applies where a similar act must have occurred on the premises in the past for the subject to be foreseeable crime. In Florida, the courts look at the “totality of the circumstances” and evidence of prior crimes that occurred off the premises is relevant; a prior crime on the property is not necessary to prove foreseeability.