In recent weeks, there has been significant media coverage of the recent shooting death of a Florida teenager by a so called "neighborhood watch captain." There are multiple news outlets which have reported that both the victim and the shooter may been the initial aggressor. At least one outlet reported that prior to the incident neighbors had complained about the aggressive tactics of the watch captain, George Zimmerman. In addition, there is some indication that Mr. Zimmerman may have been previously arrested for assaultive behavior.
Whatever the truth is in this terrible tragedy, the question as to whether the neighborhood association could be held liable has crossed my mind. I can't answer that question as it relates to Florida law, but under the laws of Pennsylvania, a neighborhood association which has reason to know of a member's aggressive tendencies could certainly be held liable for that member's actions.
It's akin to a situation where a bar or nightclub hires a bouncer who is known to be overly aggressive. Let's say that patrons even complain about the bouncer. Later, if that same bouncer injures someone while on the job, the bar is likely to be liable for the incident.
A neighborhood association who allows a known and overly aggressive member to conduct patrols is asking for trouble. The neighborhood association's insurance company would probably be required to defend the association and also pay the proceeds of the policy if there is a verdict in favor of the injured. In addition, the member's own homeowners or renters insurance policy may apply as well. Click here to for more information about a neighborhood association's potential liability under Pennsylvania law
If you'd like to discuss your potential negligence claim for an assault or fight, call the premises liability lawyers at White and Williams. 800.944.8396
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case.
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