Protecting Patrons

Takeaways from the Retail, Restaurant, and Hospitality Community's recent webinar, “Negligent Security: From Incident to Answer”

June 29, 2021 Photo

CLM’s Retail, Restaurant, and Hospitality Community recently held a webinar entitled, “Negligent Security: From Incident to Answer,” which discussed a risk many businesses overlook—negligent security—and provided information on how claims and litigation professionals should help clients handle these incidents. Below are a few takeaways from the presentation.

12:00:00 p.m.


Karen Dalton, Senior Manager, Risk Management, Staples

Gwyneth Murray-Nolan, Partner, Weiner Law Group LLP 

Jonathan Walsh, Partner, Deutsch Kerrigan LLP

12:05:22 p.m.

Jonathan Walsh

“Negligent security can be defined…as ‘a claim for damages in civil court on behalf of a crime victim against the owner of the premises where the crime event occurred.’”

12:06:17 p.m.

Jonathan Walsh

“A negligent security claim is, at its heart, a betrayal of your client’s customers’ expectations. The person who goes into the store to shop for shoes for her child is not expecting to be a crime victim or assaulted by another patron when she does that.”


Jonathan Walsh

“These negligent security incidents often involve very severe injuries—death and serious physical trauma—and there are often accompanying claims for post-traumatic stress disorder brought by the victim and their loved ones.” 


Gwyneth Murray-Nolan

“The negligent security principles that we need to keep in mind are grounded in the principle that the business owner owes the patron a duty to implement reasonable measures to protect the patron from criminal acts when those acts are foreseeable. So we need to use a reasonable-person standard to think about what criminal acts are foreseeable.”


Karen Dalton

“Crime prevention in practice is obviously the responsibility of law enforcement, not a client. However, failure to mitigate a reasonably foreseeable criminal act that causes harm to its patrons certainly creates a potential significant liability and a definite business crisis.”


Gwyneth Murray-Nolan

“The immediacy of gathering evidence is extremely important when doing an investigation…. As soon as we’re notified, we need to start gathering evidence.”


Gwyneth Murray-Nolan

“Whenever you have a security incident and employees may be fired because of [it], we want to make sure we get their cooperation first. Get their information and make sure they speak to the security team and/or the police and local law enforcement, and, after that fact, then they are terminated.”


Gwyneth Murray-Nolan

“At times, the media can obtain more information than you can, which is something to keep on the back burner depending on the case and whether media will sometimes come to you or the police with information.”

About The Authors
Phil Gusman

Phil Gusman is CLM's director of content.

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CLM’s Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality Community assists members and fellows in obtaining a higher awareness of the issues, challenges, and trends confronting those handling and litigating premises liability exposures through a collaborative effort between insurance companies and brokerages, claims organizations, and service providers.

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