Verdict - Summer 2017 - 19

O

n a warm summer eve-

Therefore, if a property owner hires a secu-

damages are asserted. To account for this

ning in June 2014, a

rity company to patrol or monitor the prop-

possibility, it is often good practice to name

security officer shot and

erty, it has a personal and nondelegable

the individual guard as a defendant. Not only

killed an unarmed man

duty to choose a responsible security guard

does this account for the possibility of losing

for refusing to leave a

company. 2 Not only does this mean that the

on vicarious liability, but the individual guard's

hotel in Decatur. At an

property owner can be liable for guard neg-

defense counsel often will help prove course

apartment complex in Austell several years

ligence, but it may be held responsible inten-

and scope.

prior, another guard with a history of "erratic

tional torts, too. 3

If the employer is not vicariously liable

and threatening behavior" slayed a tenant

In fact, the Georgia Supreme Court

for the guard's torts, it can be held directly

during a confrontation. On yet another occa-

Peachtree-Cain v. McBee held that it

liable on negligent hiring, retention, training,

sion, a hotel guest was shot in the face during

"agree[d] with the imposition of liability upon

and supervision claims. In fact, the Georgia

a robbery. The hotel claimed it had uniformed

property owners for the intentional torts

Court of Appeals held that security compa-

security, only the scheduled guard never

committed by the personnel of an indepen-

nies must exercise "a greater amount of care

showed up for his shift.

dent security agency, where the security

to meet the degree or standard of care" when

Security guards serve an important role in

agency was hired by the property owners

selecting their employees, given that they

deterring and preventing crime. As the above

to protect their premises."4 If the tortious

protect people and property.7 At a minimum,

incidents illustrate, however, poor manage-

security officer is an off-duty law enforce-

Georgia regulations require security compa-

ment, negligence, or worse sometimes make

ment officer, however, the property owner

nies to check a candidate's criminal history, 8

security guards more of a danger than deter-

is not liable for torts committed pursuant to

and industry sources recommend verifying

rent. At best, negligent security guards pro-

the officer's police duties. 5

at least seven years of prior employment. 9
Guards must also have at least 24 hours of

vide a false sense of security. And given that
nearly 29,000 people are employed as secu-

B. The Security Guard Company

classroom instruction, plus another 15 hours

rity guards in Georgia alone, practitioners of

Many or perhaps most security guards are

to carry a firearm.10

premises liability are likely to encounter cases

direct employees of private security compa-

involving security guards.

nies. Although each case is fact-specific,

II. WHAT INFORMATION AND

Whether you are litigating use-of-force,

intentional tort or negligent security cases

DOCUMENTS TO SEEK IN DISCOVERY

false imprisonment, or negligent security

involving guards often warrant adding these

Certain documents and information are ubiq-

cases involving security guards, common

companies as defendants. In negligent secu-

uitous across the security industry and should

issues are likely to arise. This article provides

rity cases, premises owners often blame

be requested in most cases involving guards

tips on addressing some of the more com-

security contractors and guard companies for

regardless of whether you are litigating a

mon issues that arise in litigation involving

security flaws or gaps, and the guard company

use-of-force or negligent security case. In

security guards.

can be present for apportionment purposes or

such cases, requests for production often

to refute claims that they were tasked with

seek the following documents:

I. CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTIES

certain duties (assuming there is a duty of

* The guard services contract. Most prem-

One of the earliest and most important tasks

care; see supra).

ises owners and security companies will

when litigating cases involving security

In intentional tort cases, security companies

have a services contract. Not only does

guards is choosing the right defendants.

can be held vicariously liable for a guard's

this help define the guard's responsibili-

Security guard negligence and intentional

excessive force and wrongful detention. Given

ties, but it is essential for establishing a

torts are often imputable on the employer and

the nature of their profession, heavy-handed

third-party beneficiary claim against the

property owner, and the facts often warrant

security guards who harm or wrongfully detain

adding these entities as defendants.

others frequently do so in the course and scope

* Both general and specific post orders.

guard company.

of employment, even if they violate company

Broadly speaking, security guard compa-

A. The property owner

policies and procedures. 6 When the plaintiff

nies draft general post orders to provide

Premises owners in Georgia have a duty

names a guard company in an intentional tort

universal rules and guidelines applicable

to exercise ordinary care in keeping the

case, you can expect the defendant to deny

to all sites. Specific post orders are site

premises and approaches safe for invitees.

course and scope, particularly when punitive

centric and reflect the premises owner's

1

Summer 2017 19



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Summer 2017

President’s Message
Don’t Stop Fighting: Overcoming Obstacles Leads to Record Verdict in Camden County
Amazing Things Happen When Women Get Involved!
AAJ Addresses Top Concerns with Congress
Pro Bono Representation: A Bond Forged between a Naval Officer and Trial Lawyer
3 Tips for Defeating Daubert Motions
Common Issues to Stay on Guard in Cases Involving Tortious Security Officers
The Confusing Question of Causation in Criminal Attack Premises Liability Cases
Technology: Notetaking for the Digital Lawyer
New Lawyers’ Corner: 6 Questions for Verdict
Pope Langdale: Community Investments for a Cause
Case Updates: Federal Employees Health Benefits Act of 1959
Workers’ Comp: Standard of Review — “Any Evidence” Rule
Thank You, Civil Justice PAC Contributors!
GTLA Champion Members
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Intro
Verdict - Summer 2017 - cover1
Verdict - Summer 2017 - cover2
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 3
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 4
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 5
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 6
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 7
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 8
Verdict - Summer 2017 - President’s Message
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Don’t Stop Fighting: Overcoming Obstacles Leads to Record Verdict in Camden County
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 11
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Amazing Things Happen When Women Get Involved!
Verdict - Summer 2017 - AAJ Addresses Top Concerns with Congress
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Pro Bono Representation: A Bond Forged between a Naval Officer and Trial Lawyer
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 15
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 3 Tips for Defeating Daubert Motions
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 17
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Common Issues to Stay on Guard in Cases Involving Tortious Security Officers
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 19
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 20
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 21
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 22
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 23
Verdict - Summer 2017 - The Confusing Question of Causation in Criminal Attack Premises Liability Cases
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 25
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 26
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 27
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Technology: Notetaking for the Digital Lawyer
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 29
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 30
Verdict - Summer 2017 - New Lawyers’ Corner: 6 Questions for Verdict
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 32
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 33
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Pope Langdale: Community Investments for a Cause
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 35
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Case Updates: Federal Employees Health Benefits Act of 1959
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 37
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Workers’ Comp: Standard of Review — “Any Evidence” Rule
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 39
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Thank You, Civil Justice PAC Contributors!
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Welcome New GTLA Members!
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Summer 2017 - cover3
Verdict - Summer 2017 - cover4
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