Miami-Dade Premises Liability: $1.8M Inadequate Security Verdict Awarded to Woman Attacked by Suspected Killer at Her Apartment Complex
More than two years after Francisca Vente managed to escape an assault by a suspected killer, a jury has awarded her a $1.8 million Miami-Dade premises liability verdict against her apartment complex. Vente, 54, sued the Bay Winds apartment complex and its owner Cornerstone because she says that the inadequate security on the property allowed Michael Davis access to her unit.
Vente opened her door for Davis, who she thought was the air conditioner repairman. He choked her until she lost consciousness. When she came to, she threw herself out her third floor apartment window and landed on the grass. Police who were pursuing Davis (he was wanted for questioning in strangulation death of 18-year-old Bradley Paul) shot him to death in the complex’s courtyard.
Vente, who broke her wrists, pelvis, and spine during the Miami fall accident, was hospitalized for three months. She also spent a month in rehab. The former condo cleaner is now on disability and is unable to bend down or walk for extended periods. She also suffered emotional trauma from the assault.
In her Miami-Dade personal injury case, the plaintiff claimed that not only did the apartment complex lack security cameras, but also the security guards only work at night. Also, she contends that on the day when Davis entered her unit, apartment managers had left a pedestrian gate unlocked. Vente also claims that complex residents were not told of crimes that had occurred on the grounds even though the company’s internal policies require that this notification take place.
It is a premise owner’s responsibility to ensure there is adequate security on the property so that violent crimes don’t happen. For apartment complexes, this may mean making sure there are security guards, secured boundaries, surveillance cameras in parking garages, secured access entrances and exits, and alarm systems. If there have been recent crimes in the area or if the risk of becoming involved in a violent crime goes up, it is the complex owner’s responsibility to warn tenants and take the appropriate safety precautions. Unfortunately, inadequate security is a common cause of South Florida premises liability.
Miami-Dade jury awards $1.8 million to woman attacked by suspected killer, Miami Herald, June 26, 2011
Woman who escaped killer wins $1.8 million, UPI, June 27, 2011
Related Web Resources:
Inadequate Security, Justia
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