Should EA Sports be Responsible for the Madden Shooting in Jacksonville?
It’s not always easy to be a personal injury lawsuit. Sometimes people think of us as ambulance chasers or think we invent problems where there aren’t any. You’re probably thinking that the case against EA Sports is very likely one of those “frivolous lawsuits” that you hear politicians bemoaning as they present their strategy for instituting widespread “tort reform”.
Is this just such a lawsuit? Are the politicians right?
A lawsuit like this falls under the tort theory of negligent security. Negligent security is when a proprietor or event planner fails to provide the necessary security required to keep their patrons safe. The plaintiffs, in this case, are alleging that both the event host and EA Sports are negligent for allowing the fatal shooting to happen. Had they provided adequate security, there may have been some means to stop the tragedy.
Breaking Down the Claim
The shooting took place at the Jacksonville Landing mall. According to reports, a fire marshall had shut down the business that hosted the event, Chicago Pizza, for fire code violations. In addition, the game room where the event took place was also in violation of fire codes as it had video games that were blocking exits. The plaintiffs will argue that this contributed to the death toll and the sense of panic surrounding the incident. Whether or not unblocked fire exits would have made a difference is purely speculation.
The mall itself has come under fire as well as the center of a number of violent crimes. The plaintiffs will argue that some type of violent crime was foreseeable and that adequate security could have prevented the incident from occurring.
The question then becomes: What was EA’s part to play in all of this. What we know if that EA allowed the event to be held at a dangerous venue. In addition, the company pledged $1 million dollars to the victims and canceled other Madden tournaments. But ultimately, are they responsible?
The Duty of Care
Fundamentally, this is a premises liability lawsuit. In premises liability lawsuits, establishing a duty of care is the most difficult part for the plaintiff. A plaintiff must be able to show that the owner/operator of the venue either knew about a potential danger or should have known about the potential danger. Where there is little question that the mall could have prevented the tragedy with better security, what should EA Sports have done?
In order to prove that EA Sports should be held liable for the injuries and lives lost at the event, the plaintiffs must establish that EA owed a duty of care to those who were attending the Madden tournament. It may seem like a stretch, but if the plaintiffs can dredge up some proof that there were similar altercations at other events, then they may be able to prove their case. The question comes down to foreseeability.
Contact a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligence, give Alan Goldfarb P.A. a call or contact us online for a free consultation in our Miami office. We are eager to assist you with your case.