Verdict - Summer 2017 - 20

In intentional tort cases, security companies can be held vicariously
liable for a guard's excessive force and wrongful detention.
needs for the property. These latter post

A common response to this defense is that

IV. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

orders often explain whether the guard is

the plaintiff was a third-party beneficiary to

Cases involving security guards often

permitted to pursue or chase suspects,

contract between the premises owner and

present a host of legal issues from prem-

carry a weapon, or is deployed at a fixed

the guard company.14

ises liability, criminal law, agency theories,

post or moving patrol. Deviations from the

Although Georgia law does not require that

negligent hiring-type claims, and regula-

post orders can illustrate breaches of the

the third-party beneficiary be named spe-

tions from the Georgia Board of Private

standard of care,11 and missing or sloppy

cifically in the contract, as a practical matter

Detectives and Security Agencies. In addi-

post orders can serve as an independent

courts often look for words like tenants, visi-

tion to familiarizing yourself with these legal

specification of negligence.

tors, and patrons in the contract to glean an

issues, it is worth exploring guidelines and

15

intent to confer a benefit to the third-party.

treatises published industry groups such

Incident reports reflect crimes on the prop-

While contract interpretation often focuses

as ASIS International and the International

erty, which help establish foreseeability,

on the contractual language, the plaintiff

Association of Professional Securit y

and the activity reports indicate the guard's

should consider deposing the primary drafter

Consultants. By learning the law and indus-

patrols and observations, which may show

of the contract or a corporate representa-

try practices on the front end, litigants in

whether he or she exercises ordinary care

tive on ambiguities and defendant's intent

security-type cases can anticipate and

around the property.

on certain language.

defeat common defenses. ●

* Incident reports and shift activity reports.

* The guard's personnel file and all training
records, including the training program of the

B. Active negligence

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

guard company has its own training program.

and intentional torts

Mike Walker is an associate at

* Records reflecting the guard's supervision,

A general second category of claims

Law & Moran. He litigates all

such as quality checks or guard wand data.

against security guards involve allegations

types of tort cases, including

While this is not a comprehensive list of all

that the guard exceeded his or her author-

premises liability, trucking cases and products

documents to seek from a security company,

ity, used unreasonable force, or wrongfully

liability. Walker can be reached via email at

these documents are almost universally useful.

detained the plaintiff. Although many secu-

mwalker@lawmoran.com.

rity guards wear a badge and blue uniform,
III. CAUSES OF ACTION AND

a security guard has no more right to use

THEORIES OF RECOVERY

force or detain someone than an ordinary

The vast majority of cases involving secu-

private citizen.

rity guards fall into two categories: negli-

16

A security guard who uses unreason-

gent security cases and cases arising from

able force or detains or restrains an indi-

wrongful or unreasonable use of force and

vidual may be sued for assault, battery, and

false imprisonment.

false imprisonment. The defense in such
cases often asserts that the security guard
was attempting to effect a citizen's arrest

A key issue in many negligent security cases

under Section 17-4-60, or for shoplifting

is the presence or absence of a security guard

under Section 51-7-60. A security guard can

on the property. As discussed above, if a secu-

make a citizen's arrest only "if the offense

rity company was on the premises at the time

is committed in his presence or within his

of the incident, there are good reasons to add

immediate knowledge."18
Regardless of whether the guard has the

In negligent security cases, however, secu-

right to arrest someone, Georgia law requires

rity guard companies routinely file dispositive

that the guard use no more force than is rea-

motions on the basis that they owed no duty

sonable under the circumstances.19 Deadly

to the plaintiff. Because negligent security

force is prohibited unless necessary for

claims are based in premises liability,12 guard

self-defense or to prevent a forcible felony

companies claim they do not owe a duty to

(i.e., a felony involving the use or threat of

keep the premises safe from criminal acts.13

physical force). 20

20

Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

1
2
3
4
5

6

17

A. Negligent security claims

the guard company as a named defendant.

ENDNOTES

7
8
9
10
11

12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1.
Peachtree-Cain v. McBee, 254 Ga. 91, 94 (1985).
Id.
Id.
Miller v. City Views at Rosa Burney Park GP, LLC, 323
Ga. App. 590, 599 (2013).
E.g., American Multi-Cinema, Inc. v. Walker, 270 Ga.
App. 314, 315 (2004); U.S. Shoe Corp. v. Jones, 149
Ga. App. 595, 595 (1979). See Bacon v. News-Press
& Gazette Co., 188 Ga. App. 703, 705 (1998).
C.K. Sec. Sys., Inc. v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co. 137
Ga. App. 159, 161 (1976).
O.C.G.A. § 4 3-38-7.1.
ASIS International, Private Security Officer Selection
and Training Guideline.
Ga. Admin. §§ 509-3-.02, 509-3-.10.
See Luckie v. Piggly-Wiggly Southern, Inc., 173 Ga.
App. 177, 178 (1984) ("Privately established 'rules
are admissible as illustrative of negligence, but the
violation of such a rule is not negligence in and of
itself.'").
See Lau's Corp. v. Haskins, 261 Ga. 491, 492 (1991).
E.g., Anderson v. Atlanta Comm. for Olympic Games,
Inc., 273 Ga. 113, 117-18 (2000).
Fair v. CV Underground, LLC, 340 Ga. App. 790, 794 -95
(2017); Brown v. All-Tech Inv. Group, Inc.,
See Fair, 340 Ga. App. at 795.
O.C.G.A. § 4 3-38-13.
See O.C.G.A. § 51-7-20.
O.C.G.A. § 17-4-60.
Hayes v. State, 261 Ga. 4 39, 4 4 3 (1991).
Id.; O.C.G.A. § 16-1-3(6) (definition of forcible felony).



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
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/GTLQ/GTLQ0318
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/GTLQ/GTLQ0218
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