Shooting at Nightclub Caused by Lack of Security


This case involves a shooting in a Toronto nightclub. The plaintiff in the case was visiting his cousin in Toronto and decided to go to a nightclub. For the Thursday night, the nightclub was extremely busy (it was later revealed that the nightclub was over capacity), and the metal detector used to screen firearms was not working. Additionally, the security on the night in question was limited because two employees of the nightclub had called in sick. While at the bar, a fight broke out and the plaintiff was shot in the leg by another patron. In addition to a suit against the shooter, the plaintiff brought suit against the nightclub for inadequate security and the overcapacity which existed in the nightclub. Plaintiff retained a bar security expert for the case.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have any experience developing safety protocols and guidelines for nightclubs to ensure that their patrons are safe?

Expert Witness Response

Nightclubs in urban areas in Canada, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, are much more likely to have metal detectors than other locations in the country. In Toronto, specifically, however, metal detectors are required under the city’s municipal code. Specifically, every security guard at a door should have a metal detector to check for any harmful devices when a patron is entering the nightclub. If the metal detectors are malfunctioning, additional safety measures should be practiced in order to ensure that the patrons are safe. Extra security should be brought in, and not just at the entrances, but throughout the establishment. Furthermore, all reasonable efforts should be made to restore at least one metal detector. Lastly, the amount of patrons needs to be limited until metal detectors can be restored. Because of the overcapacity in this case, coupled with the lack of security (personnel and inoperative metal detectors), it appears that the nightclub did not follow typical safety practices, given the circumstances.

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