Magazine article Security Management

Negligent Security

Magazine article Security Management

Negligent Security

Article excerpt

Negligent security. The Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled that a mall patron injured on the mall's premises cannot sue the property owner for damages under the state's general liability clause in cases where the issue is negligence by a contractor. But the court left open the possibility that companies could be held accountable for a contractor's negligence under a separate state law.

In June 1995, Bryan Konar was being menaced by an acquaintance, Dennis DePalma, while both were inside the Newport Mall in Newport, Rhode Island. Konar reported DePalma's actions to mall security, but DePalma was not asked to leave the premises, and he later attacked Konar, inflicting serious injury.

Konar sued the owners of the mall, PFL Life Insurance (PFL), for negligent failure to provide security. PFL requested summary judgment--a hearing based on the facts of a case without a trial. In its request, PFL claimed that it could not be held responsible for Konar's injuries because security at the mall was handled by a third party, the Rhode Island Bureau of Investigation and Protection, Ltd. (RIBI). The Rhode Island Superior Court granted the summary judgment, ruling that, under state law, a party that employs an independent contractor will not be held liable for the negligence of that contractor. …

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