Alleged negligent security at adult video store - Plaintiff raped at gunpoint - Lack of security guard - Lack of bulletproof booth - Dangerous late-night closing time - Post- traumatic stress disorder.
Miami-Dade County, FL (160303)
The plaintiff was a 27-year-old female employed as a
clerk in an adult video store operated by the defendant when she
was raped at gunpoint. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant
failed to implement adequate security to prevent the crime.
Workers compensation immunity was not applicable because no
physical injuries were sustained by the plaintiff. The defendant
maintained that its security was adequate and that the plaintiff
was targeted for the crime, making the crime unpreventable.
The plaintiff was in the course and scope of her employment as a
clerk at the Pleasure Emporium in Miami Gardens, an adult video
store open 24-hours per day. In the early morning hours of
December 25, ________, the store was robbed and the plaintiff was
raped at gunpoint. The jury viewed a videotape of the rape. The
perpetrator, a 17-year old male, was subsequently arrested for
The plaintiff argued that the plaintiffs sexual assault could
have been prevented by the presence of a security guard on the
premises, a bulletproof security booth inside the store and an
earlier closing time. The plaintiff contended that the defendant
was put on notice of the forseeability of such crime by the fact
that there had been four prior armed robberies at the store and
the store was located in a high-crime area. The plaintiff
contended that, other than increased lighting, the defendant did
nothing to deter crime following the four previous robberies.
The plaintiffs psychologist testified that the plaintiff
suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety
as a result of the sexual attack. The plaintiff contended that
she has been unable to return to work.
The defendant contended that, although there had been prior
robberies at the store, there had never been a sexual assault.
The defense established that the store had a panic button to
alert an alarm company and then police in the event of a robbery.
The plaintiff contended that she had no opportunity to push the
panic button when the assailant suddenly leapt over the counter
behind which she was seated.
In addition, evidence showed that all customers had to be buzzed
into the store and the store had good lighting, video
surveillance and signs pointing out the video surveillance,
according to the defense. The defendant contended that its
security measures were reasonable and that the crime was an
intended sexual assault against the plaintiff which would not
have been prevented by additional security measures.
The jury, by a vote of six to zero, found no negligence on the
part of the defendant which was a legal cause of injury to the
plaintiff. The plaintiffs motion for new trial is pending.