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Sisters Recover $1.8M After Unmonitored Miami Beach Garage Attack

white and black sign reading, "This area is under Video Surveillance"
The plaintiffs argued that this sign in the garage, essentially saying "Nobody's looking," invited crime in the garage.

After a week-long trial, a jury in the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami awarded $1,881,000 three sisters after they were beaten unconscious and robbed in a parking garage where a sign told patrons that the garage cameras were not monitored.

The jury found on Feb. 11, 2016 that the garage management company, Park One of Florida, LLC, was responsible for 95% of the negligence that caused injuries to the plaintiffs, Helen, Samantha, and Selene Rankin.

The parking garage is located in the heart of South Beach which is known as a tourist attraction with a very lively nightlife.

Blatant disregard for customer safety

The sisters were represented by attorneys Dan Caine and Daniel Grissom from Stabinski & Funt, P.A., in Miami. After the negligent security verdict, Caine said, "The jury recognized the defendant's blatant disregard for customer safety. Businesses should be on notice that customer safety should be their number one priority." Grissom added, "The garage was on notice that the safety measures in place were not working. The signage in the garage, that the cameras were not continuously monitored, were really an invitation to crime."

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Video footage showed a sliver of the crime taking place. It showed only one of the women being knocked to the ground and one of the assailants grabbing a purse.

Records showed that the garage had 31 separate incidents of crime in the 22 months before the attack. Yet the security cameras in the garage were not continuously monitored and the cameras in the elevators were never hooked up.

The attack took place when the sisters returned to their car at 2:30 AM on Nov. 18, 2007 at the garage at 10th and Collins. They walked into the elevator with several strangers who were carrying drinks. One of the women strangers accused Samantha of flirting. As the sisters exited, Selene flipped the strangers off with her middle finger. The group then attacked them and got away.

  • Selene recovered $1.32 million for a back injury and post-traumatic stress (PTSD). She became addicted to pain medications and had to enter rehab. She developed dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. "We argued that this was a direct result of the trauma, and the jury agreed," Grissom said.
  • Samantha recovered $346,000. She suffered a broken tooth, fractured hand and PTSD.
  • Helen recovered $215,000 for a broken nose.

"Because the strangers came in the back entrance with drinks in hand, it should have raised suspicion and the garage should have kept an eye on them. The couldn't guarantee that the crime could be stopped, but if you put proper procedures in place, people don't come to your property to commit crimes," Caine said.

 

 

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