This case involves a teenager who noticed a group of friends hanging out in front of an ice cream parlor located next to a fast food restaurant. It was common for teenagers and transients to stand outside in front of the two businesses. A security company had hired a security guard to stand post near the sidewalk. A fight started when the teenager tried to enter the fast food restaurant and another teenage male pulled a knife on him. Several other teenagers then came up and started hitting him. The security guard took the teenager with the knife away from the area and did not come over until the fight was over. The teenager was severely injured in the fight. In addition to bringing charges against the knife-wielding teen in juvenile court, alleging that the other teens ought to have mandated anger management courses, the teenager sued the security company for failing to protect him from the fight and retained an expert witness of security practices and procedures for the case.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Does a security guard have a duty to always be on the scene at a business in case a fight occurs and if he fails to break up a fight, is this negligence?
Expert Witness Response
The relationship between a business and its customers is usually considered a special one where the business has a duty to take affirmative action to control the wrongful conduct of third persons that may threaten customers. This duty arises because the business can reasonably foresee that fights might break out and can foresee that an injury could occur if this happens. When a business enters a contract to hire a security guard, this creates a relationship between the security guard and the customers where the guard has a duty to protect customers while they are on the business premises. If a security guard acts unreasonably or fails to follow proper safety procedure and an injury occurs, the security company may be held liable for the negligence of the security guard. In this case, the security guard was negligent because he saw the group of teenagers start the fight and did not take proper measures to get the teenager away from the others before he was injured. The security guard was negligent in this case because he was contractually required to extricate the teenager from the threatening situation, tell the threatening group of teenagers to leave the area, and immediately call the police or return to the scene to stop the fight.