Charlip Law Group, LC Scores $5,000,000 Negligent Security Jury Verdict
Charlip Law Group, LC was lead counsel for Dezje Williams in his negligent security lawsuit against the owners and management of a historic Sanford bar and nightclub as well as the company hired to provide security for the “hip-hop” night where Williams was attending to support a performer. David H. Charlip, B.C.S. tried the case along with Ortavia Simon, a Maitland attorney. The Five Million Dollar jury verdict is one of the largest negligent security jury verdicts in the state of Florida.
Excerpts are taken from the original article published by the Daily Business Review as follows:
David Charlip of Charlip Law Group in North Miami Beach teamed with Ortavia Simon of Simon Law Group in Maitland to secure a $5 million jury verdict for a man who was shot seven times after leaving a nightclub, in a parking lot he alleged security staff hadn’t properly guarded.
Dezje Williams went to The Barn in Sanford on Aug. 15, 2016, to watch a local rapper and friend perform at a weekly hip-hop night. But the evening took a turn when Williams left the club and headed to his car, parked in a dimly lit overflow parking lot across the road.
Williams was looking for cousins he’d arrived with, according to Charlip, who said his client walked back to the club when he couldn’t find them by the car.
“He encountered these two guys coming the other direction and told them to ‘be safe.’ They passed him and then he didn’t see his cousins at the front of the club, so he went back to the car,” Charlip said. “As he approached his car, he saw the guy and his companion basically standing behind the doors of their vehicle, which were open, holding guns and shooting at him.”
Williams was hit by seven bullets but he managed to run back towards the club before collapsing. He underwent several surgeries to save his life, suffered broken ribs and a hemothorax, which is a build-up of blood between the chest wall and the lungs.
Williams later identified his shooter, Traveus Lemon, in a police lineup. Lemon was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Williams sued in 2017
(https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DVpS4OVJ7VPtGVCdC80fT6rA-GrjbaSg/view?usp=sharing), claiming that no security guards had been deployed to the overflow parking lot on the night of his attack, even though it had poor lighting and few surveillance cameras. Sanford police officers had handled security at the club until soon before the incident, when the club hired security company Armor Bearer Security & Protection LLC, which the plaintiff alleged was inexperienced.
“Despite the fact they felt it was going to be a full house that evening, the bar management reduced the number of security guards from four to two,” Charlip said.
Scott A. Tacktill of The Unger Law Group in Orlando represents The Barn’s former operator, now-defunct company Silver Saddle Entertainment Inc., which jurors found 75% liable, and its current landlord JTV Investments LLC, which jurors found was not to blame.
“Unfortunately, it was bad timing, because they normally had four armed security people in the parking area but that particular day they had not expected a big crowd and switched it to two,” Tacktill said. “I think that’s what the jury locked onto.”
Isadore O. Hyde Jr. of the Law Office of Isadore Hyde in Lake Mary represents Armor Bearer, which jurors found 25% liable. She did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.
Random shooting or retaliation?
At trial, both parties disputed events leading up to the shooting. Charlip claimed Williams was familiar with the men but had never spoken to them before.
“We think they were trying to steal something from him because he was the victim of an attempted robbery the week before, and he had some nice jewelry, as some of these rappers tend to do,” Charlip said. “That’s the only motive that we believe was reasonable.”
Read the complete article by the Daily Business Review here.
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