Terrorism On Our Shores
What do businesses now have to do to try and protect their patrons? After the horrific terrorist attack at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a sad question has arisen that many businesses have to address now and into the future. How do businesses protect their patrons from mass shootings and terror attacks?
The Responsibility of Florida Business Owners to Provide Adequate Security
Under Florida law, there is a duty for business owners to provide some measure of safety for their customers, if it was foreseeable that a violent attack could take place. For years, nightclubs have hired security and off duty police officers to handle the violence that sometimes breaks out in clubs due to the consumption of alcohol and drugs on the premises. But should nightclubs do more? Should owners be responsible for installing security measures, like those found at airports, where patrons are subjected to electronic screening for weapons and can even be patted down? Some nightclubs that are frequently visited by gang members and located in troubled parts of town have already implemented these types of security measures, but is this really necessary for all clubs? In the case of the shooting at Pulse, could the deaths have been prevented even if that type of screening took place?
I suspect that in the coming weeks, negligent security lawyers will be filing lawsuits against Pulse, but were there any measures the nightclub owners could have actually taken to protect their customers? That will be the seminal question along with the issue of foreseeability.
As a personal injury attorney, I have sued businesses that did not do enough to protect their consumers. In this case, much more has to be known before an attorney can jump to the conclusion that the club is at fault. With the entire country feeling the effects from the Orlando attacks, it will be important to see what steps business owners take to protect their consumers. Some suggestions that have already been implemented or are currently being discussed include:
- Active shooter and terrorism training for staff and security.
- Electronic screening
- Safety studies to identify weaknesses in security
- Improved communication with local police
- Bag Checks
- Advanced security procedures for all entry and exit points
These and many other action items should be considered by businesses as we move forward in a potentially dark time.