It is not often that the media cleanly packages an example of a valid legal claim that we lawyers can use as a teaching tool to illustrate a legal concept, but the Orlando Sentinel recently did that in its reporting about the Governor’s Manor Apartment complex in Orlando.
Apparently, a man was stabbed in the back at the apartment complex this past weekend after he arrived to visit a friend. No information was provided about what led to the stabbing, or whether the victim realized he was at risk for being a victim of violence as a result of visiting his friend.
If I was a gambling man, I would bet that the stabbing victim had no idea that less than one week before he was stabbed, a cab driver was found dead on the grounds of the same apartment complex. I would also bet that the stabbing victim did not know that there were twice as many reported crimes at Governor’s Manor in 2010 than there were in 2009.
At the same time, as an Orlando accident attorney, I know that this apartment complex has a duty to take reasonable measures to provide a safe environment for visitors. I know that the apartment complex has a duty to know what kind of activity is happening on and around its property, and to structure its security plan based upon those realities. When an apartment complex fails to provide security consistent with the level of crime or violence reported on or around its property, the complex can be exposed to a negligent security claim.
I would be very curious to learn what kind of security measures Governor’s Manor was utilizing to protect guests — particularly after a cabbie was found murdered on its property. Surely the management of this complex made some changes when the dangers of violent crime were illustrated by the discovery of a dead body — how much more proof could they need?