Court: Mall security not negligent in murder
ALBANY, N.Y.—A New York appellate court has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed security at the Hudson Valley Mall was negligent in the 2006 stabbing death of a restaurant manager who worked at the mall, according to news reports.
The case involved the 2006 murder of Sharon Inger, who was manager of the Ground Round restaurant at the mall, located in Kingston, N.Y., when a co-worker stabbed her to death while she was closing up the restaurant on the night of June 4, 2006. Inger's daughter sued the mall's owner, PCK Development Co., claiming the mall was negligent for not having adequate security measures in place to protect employees.
However, the court's five justices didn't see it that way. In its decision to dismiss the lawsuit, which reverses a lower court's decision, the court decided the Hudson Valley Mall had met the threshold of "minimal precautions to protect tenants from foreseeable harm," according to the Associated Press.
A key piece of the prosecution's case was that the year before Inger's murder a gunman had opened fire at the mall with an assault rifle. The prosecuting attorney argued that given the shooting, the mall should have increased security so that more than one guard was on duty and that there were cameras that one guard could watch from a central location, the AP reported.
"The affidavit of defendant's then-security director established that [Inger]'s tragic death was not predictable or expected given that no similar assault had occurred in any tenant spaces leased at the mall, and that, apart from one shooting a year earlier in 2005, the criminal activity on the mall premises consisted of much less serious offenses, such as shoplifting, disorderly conduct and fistfights," Justice Edward Spain wrote in the decision, according to the AP.
The prosecuting attorney representing Inger's daughter told the AP the decision was "difficult to comprehend" given the numerous crimes committed at the mall every year. "It seems like you can shoot people and stab people in the mall and the mall is just not responsible," he told the AP. He will likely appeal the decision, he said.
In December, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against the mall's owner by one of the victims of the 2005 shooting incident, claiming the event was not foreseeable, the AP reported.