Rule Earns Premises Liability Defense Victory

Goldberg Simpson Senior Associate Kelley Rule logged another victory for the firm, this time in a premises liability defense case. In Shannin Ross v. Christopher D. Prater, Individually and d/b/a The Black Diamond Saloon, and Pelco Commercial Properties, Inc., the Plaintiff argued that, as to landowner Pelco, the company should have provided security for the parking lot it owned and in which the Plaintiff was injured in a bar fight.

The Plaintiff also argued that it was reasonably foreseeable to Pelco that a patron of the bar could be assaulted by third party because the bar was located in a “high crime” area. The bar was owned and managed by Defendant Prater, who was responsible for security under the terms of the lease with Pelco, which owned the building. Ms. Rule argued on behalf of Pelco that it did not owe the Plaintiff a duty to provide security under the terms of the lease.

She also argued allegations of prior criminal activity were never substantiated by law enforcement, and that, in any case, prior instances of violent activity at a given location did not alter the duty analysis. Finally, argued that Pelco’s conduct in not providing security for the parking lot did not create an unreasonable risk of harm, and that it therefore had not duty to prevent harm to an unknown person. The Johnson Circuit Court agreed and granted the defendant motion for summary judgment.