Couple Injured in El Paso Shooting Sues Walmart for Negligent Security
A Texas couple injured in the mass shooting that took place at an El Paso Walmart has filed a lawsuit against Walmart alleging negligent security. The couple says that there were no armed security guards on duty at the time of the attack.
The lawsuit has been filed on the grounds of premises liability arguing that Walmart provided a negligent amount of security for their customers. Does this couple have a bona fide case or will a jury reject their allegations?
Premises Liability and Foreseeability
When you’re talking about premises liability, the one major concept you need to understand is foreseeability. If someone slips and falls at a Walmart, the Walmart is only liable if they either knew about the slip hazard or should have known about the slip hazard because it occurred in an area where slip hazards happened frequently.
That, in essence, is the bar for negligence in a premises liability lawsuit. The same holds true for a negligent security lawsuit. While many might balk at the idea that a mass shooting was predictable, others would point out that, had Walmart had an armed guard on duty, fewer people would have been injured and killed. So Walmart is negligent on one level, but is the legal standard too high in this case for a successful lawsuit?
In a lawsuit such as the one mentioned above, the plaintiff wouldn’t have to prove that the mass shooting was foreseeable, only that gun violence was. The way in which that argument is proven is by showing that gun violence had occurred on the premises prior or that the neighborhood was known for having gun violence. If the neighborhood has past incidents of gun violence, it can be reasonably argued that Walmart should have known that gun violence was possible and neglected to do so. If so, Walmart is responsible for their injuries. The last piece of the puzzle is to show that their injuries were directly related to Walmart’s negligence.
Establishing negligence, in this case, will be much more difficult than proving their injuries were related to Walmart’s negligence. The couple were both shot by the gunman who entered the Walmart. Guillermo Garcia suffered a bullet wound to his spine while his wife, Jessica Garcia, sustained bullet wounds to her legs.
The couple’s lawsuit is the first filed against Walmart for the attack in El Paso. Other lawsuits have been filed against Walmart in other states where plaintiffs claim that Walmart negligently sold guns to straw buyers who later sold the guns to those who would have otherwise not been cleared to purchase a firearm.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured on-premises, you may be able to file a claim against the owner or proprietor whose duty it is to maintain the premises. The Houston assault & negligent security attorneys at Livingston & Flowers have filed several such claims against negligent parties and will fight for your right to just compensation under Texas law. Talk to us today for a free consultation.