Can an Event Venue Be Sued for Negligent Security?

Attendees at a concert waiting to hear a popular rapper perform found themselves in a dangerous situation when shots were fired back stage. The sound of the gunshots caused a panic to break out in the crowd waiting for the concert to begin. The concert attendees began a massive stampede to get out of the venue, which caused fans at the show to be trampled.

Now, Billboard reports several fans have filed a lawsuit alleging that negligent security at the venue led to personal injury. The fans claim the concert security should have better screened attendees to prevent the gun from getting in to the venue. The case raises questions regarding when a personal injury claim can be based on a security failure.

This is a type of situation which arises frequently, like when people are able to bring guns into crowded establishments as well as in situations where someone is assaulted or hurt in stores, parking lots, or other venues which property owners may have an obligation to keep secure.

The case of the concertgoers suing the venue after the shooting is one of many examples where people harmed by gun violence have tried to hold the venue accountable.

Another famous example of this was when survivors and family members of victims of the Aurora shooting massacre at the Century Aurora 16 multiplex movie theater tried to file suit against Cinemark, the owner of the movie theater. LA Times reported those families were not successful in their claims, but there have been many situations where property owners were held accountable for damages.

The key question that determines whether the venue can be held liable for negligent security is whether the venue took reasonable measures to protect patrons in light of the particular risk they faced. In the case of the movie theater example, for instance, it was not clear there was a threat of a shooting based on the past history of the movie theater, nor were there reasonable steps which the cinema could have taken to prevent the massacre.

In other situations, a history of violence in the area would suggest a venue should take more precautions to prevent violence. If industry best practices involve screenings or security and a venue falls short of fulfilling standard security measures, this would also be a situation where the venue may be held accountable. In the case of the concert, for example, if it is customary to screen attendees for weapons and this venue fall short of doing so, this could be used as evidence suggesting the venue was negligent.

Although it is up to victims to prove the venue was responsible, an experienced personal injury attorney can help demonstrate negligence and recover compensation for those who were injured or lost a loved one.