Premises Liability for Dangerous Spring Break Gathering

A huge spring break party in Plantation that involved a residential home packed with 400 people ended tragically in gunfire, the death of one man and the serious injury of four others.party1

The Sun-Sentinel reports the body of Serge Pierre Dumas, 28, was later located inside by authorities, who combed the five-bedroom, two-story property shortly after receiving complaints about noise and parking. As the officers were standing outside, shortly before midnight, gunfire rang out. In addition to the one decedent, three women and one man were transported to Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Medical Center with gunshot wounds.

The shooter, who has not yet been identified, allegedly escaped as people started pouring out of the house. 

In a situation like this, there may be a few different avenues for recovery of damages for victims. When injury or death occurs on a residential property, our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys would first look at homeowners’ insurance. However, most of the time, if those injuries were the result of an intentional act of violence, the insurance company isn’t likely to cover the damages.

In this situation, that would leave us with one other possibility: Negligent security or inadequate security.

Usually, this sort of assertion is reserved for nightclubs, apartment complexes, bars, stadiums or other places where individuals might potentially be imperiled, either because of huge crowds or the service of alcohol or the potential for individuals to become isolated at night. Although the exact level of security isn’t outlined by law, courts will usually take into account whether the incident was reasonably foreseeable.

Private homeowners typically aren’t required to provide security to their guests, even if they do throw a party. However this situation may be different for a number of reasons, including:

  • There were 400 people packed into a 5-bedroom residence;
  • This was a party that was heavily advertised on social media as a “spring break celebration”;
  • There was a $5 cover charge for men to get in;
  • The home is owned by an organization called, “Boss Group Ministries”;
  • This property has been the site of other large parties.

The owner of BGM told a reporter had not rented out the property to anyone else prior to the party, which would indicate the organization could be held liable for the injuries and death, as opposed to some other third party.

According to guests at the party, the age range of people in attendance varied significantly, from high school students to young adults in their 20s to some in their 40s and 50s. The entire property – including the pool and back patio – was was completely packed.

Among the wounded: a 21-year-old man, and three young women, ages 16, 17 and 18.

Detectives say despite the huge number of people in attendance, no one has come forward to name who the alleged suspect is. The entire situation, said one detective, is nothing like he’s ever seen in 27 years of police work.

A successful claim for negligent security would likely involve securing compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral Expenses
  • Loss of consortium

Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Spring Break party packed with 400 people ends with one dead, four hurt, March 21, 2016, By Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel

More Blog Entries:

Rish v. Simao – Low Impact Car Accident Defense, March 25, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Blog