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Premises liability claims filed for victims of teen club shooting

The key to a recovery in a premises liability claim in New Hampshire or elsewhere is usually the issue of foreseeability. The plaintiff will have a reasonable chance of recovering on a premises liability claim if it can be proved that the owner and/or operator had knowledge of the dangerous condition or reasonably should have known of it. This must be followed with proof of the owner's failure to use due care to protect or warn the patrons.

Claims by customers of a night club or similar enterprise that the owner did not provide adequate security to prevent harm to them is a form of premises liability case. A recent tragic incident in another state has led to a lawsuit on a legal theory of premises liability. The plaintiff is a 19-year-old woman who was shot in the leg at a swimsuit party in an establishment called Club Blu, which is an alcohol-free night club for teens under 17.  

Her brother, an 18-year-old high school athletic star, died from a bullet to the abdomen. One more teen, a 14-year-old boy, was killed and over a dozen others were injured when random fire broke out at the end of the festivities for the evening. The lawsuit rightly stressed the history of violence at the defendant's establishment, and that the owner knew of the prior incidents of violence. More than 10 lawsuits for damages have been filed by victims thus far.

Police at this point do not know the precise cause of the melee. Three men who were in a scuffle with police later in the evening have been arrested. What is vital for purposes of a recovery on the civil claims is the owners' knowledge of substantial past violence at the club and even prior shootings on or nearby the premises. The premises liability claims have a reasonable chance of success, and they would be viewed similarly if they had been filed in New Hampshire under like factual circumstances

Source:, "Woman Sues Florida Club Over Shooting Injuries", Izzy Kapnick, Oct. 14, 2016

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