Could the owners of Martin Street Plaza be liable in a civil lawsuit regarding a shooting that occurred on their property?
A man, who was lost and driving around Atlanta, suffered a random gunshot wound around 12:30 am on January 1. Police responded to his call, which he made after driving a brief distance. The man, whose name has not been released by authorities, was taken to the hospital where he is reportedly in stable condition.
According to Georgia law, property owners have a responsibility to their tenants and their guests to keep communities safe. If crime is a foreseeable issue on the property, these landlords and property managers are required to take reasonable security measures. Visible security cameras, onsite security, perimeter fencing with access-controlled gates, and even a security station at the entrance gate are all reasonable measures that property owners might be required to take to curtail crime on their premises.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, in June of 2020 Atlanta-based rapper YFN Lucci was filming a music video at the complex when production was interrupted by gunfire.
Just two months earlier, police responded to complaints of break-ins when the suspects drove aggressively towards the officers. One of the officers fired upon the vehicle, causing it to crash into an apartment. The suspects escaped the vehicle and the police officers turned the investigation over to the SBI.
Online reviews also warn that “[after] hours [the] gate is not safe.”
Police and other law enforcement can catch criminals and help the criminal justice system hold these criminals accountable, but there is very little law enforcement can do to punish the landlords who allow their communities to become a haven for criminal activity – nor can they compensate the families of the victims. Only the survivors of violent crime can file a claim in civil court against the owners of the property. A civil judgment cannot ever adequately compensate for the pain and loss resulting from a violent criminal attack; however, it can aid in medical bills, lost wages, and make a step towards recovering from pain and suffering. Perhaps more importantly, holding the property owners and managers financially accountable may be the only way to convince landlords that it is in their interest to make their communities safer and prevent such future tragedies from occurring. Only together can we Make Atlanta Safe, one community at a time.
Only the survivors of violent crimes or the families of victims can use the civil court system to hold property owners and managers accountable when they fail to take reasonable precautions to protect tenants and guests from known threats. By holding them accountable, we can motivate property owners to make meaningful changes to prevent violent crime from happening to others. In that way, together, we can help Make Atlanta Safe.
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