Anna Layne, 49, was shot in a Lauderdale Lakes, Florida nightclub at approximately 3:20 a.m. last night. Anna Layne is presently in critical condition at a local hospital and her prognosis is presently unknown. Hopefully she is surrounded by family members and loved ones who care.
Also injured were: Dwight Jones, 52; Ayana Murray, 20; Knott, 31; Josephine Grant, 32; Marlon Dinnall, 21; Mervyn Francis, 51; Vincent Robinson, 62; Varinda Lallharry, 24; and Shameila Wright, 19. Fortunately, these people do not have life threatening injuries.
This case is a horrific example of what happens when an over crowded nightclub fails to provide its patrons with adequate security and sufficient emergency exits.
As an injury lawyer, I can tell you some serious questions need to be asked and some hard answers had better be given. This case is serious and I bet it could have been prevented.
According to news reports, a man named Vishna Beepot, 26, got into an argument with another person named Junior Lodge, 35. The cause of the argument is unknown, but I am sure it had to do with someone’s bruised ego or a fight over a woman.
Either way, Vishna Beepot pulled out a gun.
In response, a nightclub security guard pulled out his gun and ordered Vishna Beepot to drop his weapon. The mechanics of what happened next are still unclear, but Beepot and the security guard opened fire.
It is important to keep in mind that this was a packed nightclub full or party going patrons.
After the gunfire stopped, Junior Lodge lay dead. Vishna Beepot died shortly thereafter at a local hospital.
From an injury lawyer’s perspective, Anna Layne and the other innocent bystanders may have a very strong case against the nightclub for negligent security.
This means they may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries, including pain and suffering.
For this reason, it would be very beneficial for those affected to contact an injury lawyer immediately. Building a case the right way takes a lot of time and effort. Starting work as soon as possible after the incident in question is VERY helpful.
I think the nightclub may be held responsible for the following reasons: 1) they probably had inadequate security, 2) they probably had inexperienced or poorly trained guards, 3) the club most likely did not have enough emergency exits, 4) the club probably had too many people in it or more people than were allowed by the fire marshall, and 5) the security guard probably mishandled the situation and instead of calming things down and getting in control, he escalated it and caused things to explode.
The end result: two people dead, one seriously injured, and nine others hurt.
What else does one call this other than a complete security failure?
If you have ever been to a nightclub in the city, like I have, you know they pat you down for weapons at the door. Guns are not allowed.
This club either failed to pat down its patrons or their guards did an ineffective job. It will be interesting to learn how many security guards were working that night compared to how many patrons were present.
As an injury lawyer, I am also curious to know how many emergency exits this nightclub had. I would bet anything that the amount of people injured by the shooting had a lot to do with their inability to escape quickly enough.
I bet all the eye-witnesses would describe a crowded, chaotic, nightmare inside that club.
Remember, emergency exits are there for all emergencies… not just fires!
If patrons were shot because they couldn’t escape the nightclub quickly enough then the nightclub may be held responsible for their injuries, including pain and suffering.
Next, I would like to know more about how the lone security guard handled the situation. Did he act appropriately or did he add fuel to the fire? To what extent, if any, did his actions contribute to the end result?
As an injury lawyer, not only do I suspect that the nightclub had inadequate emergency exits, but I would also bet it had an inadequate security staff… both in number of guards and in quality of their training and experience.
Bullets do not always hit their intended targets and sometimes they don’t stop traveling once an intended target is hit. As a result, innocent bystanders can get caught in the crossfire and get shot when a triggerman misses his target or when his bullets over-penetrate.
When this security guard pulled the trigger, did he consider who stood behind or next to his intended target? Did he consider the fact that he might kill the very people he was employed to protect?
It is important to note that the nightclub owners are responsible for the actions of their employees, especially their security guards. In law, this is called “vicarious liability.” Put simply, vicarious liability occurs when one person is legally responsible for the actions of another. Such responsibility most commonly occurs when employees act within the scope of their employment and hurt another person… such as the security guard in Anna Layne’s case.
Additionally, it is important to understand that people who own establishments which are open to the public owe a special duty to their patrons. Specifically, owners of establishments that cater to the public, like nightclubs, have a duty to create and maintain a safe environment for their patrons.
When a nightclub serves alcohol to partygoers past 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, they already know the propensity for fighting is great. This is especially so when the nightclub knows it caters to male patrons in their 20’s and early 30’s, who have the worst combination of testosterone and immaturity.
The bottom line is this: nightclub owners have a duty that is greater than regular establishments. Nightclubs are full of drunk or drinking people and they are known for being the scenes of nasty fighting between intoxicated patrons.
For this reason, all nightclub owners must make sure that their establishments have sufficient emergency exits and sufficient security.
Whether or not the South Rock Lounge Bar & Grill had either will be proven by the evidence. In the mean time, Anna Layne is still in the hospital fighting for her life and nine other people are left with injuries that may effect them for as long as they live.
For this reason, all those innocent bystanders, especially Anna Layne, should go out and hire the best injury lawyer they can find. This case needs to be investigated properly by a legal representative who has the injured person’s best interest in mind.
When an injury lawyer takes a case on contingency, as we do, the lawyer and the client are on the same team. Each has a personal interest in winning the case. If the case is lost, the client owes no money. Only the lawyer has to lose based on the time and effort he/she may put into the case.
As messed up as our judicial system may be, the concept of taking cases on contingency is really good for this reason (lawyers and clients are on the same team and have the same thing to gain).
Legal mumbo-jumbo aside, I hope Anna Layne and the others have as speedy a recovery as possible. This case is horrific and is one that should have never had happened.
However, as an injury lawyer, it is my job to fight for those who have been unjustly hurt and seek compensation on their behalf.
I am sure the nightclub has insurance that will compensate the innocent bystanders for their injuries. To make sure they get the right compensation, an injury lawyer will need to build a strong case and fight very aggressively for those who have been affected.