When you go out to a restaurant or bar in Central Florida for a relaxing meal or a few drinks with friends do you leave your home fearing that you will be attacked, raped, or shot at your destination?

Of course not, and you shouldn’t.

After all, Florida law (and common decency, by the way) requires restaurant and bar owners to provide reasonable security measures so that people can visit their establishments and enjoy themselves safely.

I thought about this as a read a story on the WFTV.com website about a shooting that occurred last weekend at the Cool Breeze Bar near Sanford. Tragically, a young woman named Oceanette Hampton died as the result of gunshot wounds.

Although the event where Ms. Hampton was killed was called a “private party” in the news story, this does not generally change the legal duty owed to all of the patrons and guests by the bar owner. In this instance, if the bar owners had any suspicion that anyone entering the bar was likely to be carrying a gun, the bar owners should do something about it.

In cases we have been involved in in the past, bar owners who know that their nightclubs have been the scene of violence, attacks, or shootings, have had security frisk patrons for weapons, and also set-up airport-like metal detectors.

Smart bar owners also often hire off-duty police officers to provide security, for their deterrent effect.

Restaurant and bar owners who don’t invest in these common-sense security measures can be exposed to negligent security claims.

Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Hampton. Nobody sends their mother, daughter, or sister out for a good time and expects them to end up dead. Hopefully, the owners of the Cool Breeze will “step up to the plate” and make things right for Ms. Hampton’s family.

If you have any questions regarding a Florida negligent security case or wrongful death claim (Link to "What is wrongful death FAQ) following an attack or shooting, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-644-4444.

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