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Miami-Dade County, FL

This action arose when the minor plaintiff, age three at the time, was inadvertently struck in the head by a chair thrown by a patron in shopping mall owned and managed by the defendant company. The plaintiff also named the mall’s security company as a defendant. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent in failing to provide adequate security to prevent the altercation that resulted in the chair-throwing incident. The defendants argued that the mall security was adequate and that the event was sudden and unpredictable.

The plaintiffs were the parents of a three-year-old boy who was injured on January 3, ________, when two other patrons at the Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater got into an altercation that ended with one of them throwing a chair at the other. Unfortunately, the chair missed its intended target and struck the minor plaintiff in the head. The minor plaintiff was in a twin stroller with his one-year-old sister who was not injured. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant mall was located in a high crime area and that the security there was inadequate. If the security it had been adequate, the plaintiff claimed that the incident could have been avoided or controlled without the injury to the child.

The minor plaintiff sustained a large deep gash in the head that required 22 stitches to close. The plaintiffs claimed that as a result of the injury, the child suffered significant permanent visible scarring to the head, as well as brain damage and emotional trauma. The plaintiff’s neuropsychologist testified that the boy’s EEG results were abnormal and that he suffered significant behavioral and personality changes as a result of the head injury. The minor plaintiff did not appear at trial.

The defendant contended that the ________ acre property was covered by ten regular security officers, two dispatchers, two supervisors and two off-duty police officers on the night in question. The defense argued that the number of public safety officers and off-duty police officers employed at the mall for security was adequate. The defendants maintained that the deployment of security personnel around the mall property was sufficient in light of the prior history of events in that area of the mall.

The defendant claimed that the altercation started on the second floor, two men ran down the escalator and the incident was finished within a minute. It was further contended by the defendants that the minor plaintiff suffered no brain injury and that any damages should be limited to the medical expenses of the laceration itself and any scar revision procedure.The jury found no negligence on the part of the defendants which was a legal cause of injury to the plaintiff.

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