As a Massachusetts negligence attorney, one of the areas of practice that I specialize in is called “Premises Liability.” This is an area of tort practice that allows victims of injuries that were caused by inadequately and negligently maintained property – usually (but not always) commercial buildings and commercial property. The types of cases that can fall under “premises liability” type of lawsuit can vary from slip and fall injuries, to cases where someone died due to inadequate security measures being taken.
Many people here in Boston are aware of the horrific double murder of two young, promising doctors this past May 5 2017. A couple, their names were Dr. Richard Field and Dr. Lina Bolanos, and they were savagely murdered, allegedly by a man who previously worked as a “security guard” at the upscale building where their condominium was. That individual, one “Bampumin Texeira,” has been arrested and arraigned for their murders, and is being held without bail pending trial.
There is a saying in the legal profession that “bad cases make good law,” and that maxim applies very well to this case. The reason? In my opinion as a Boston Massachusetts negligent security lawyer, this type of tragic story was bound to happen sooner or later. By “tragic story”, I’m referring not only to the murders of these two young doctors, but the façade that the private security industry operates under. We all regularly go into buildings and various properties on a regular basis, where we see a “security guard” at the entrance. These are employees of private security companies/guard companies, that wear “official-looking” uniforms, designed to create the appearance and resulting feeling of some kind of ‘police’ presence, or at the very least a highly-trained security professional, that knows how to spot danger, and knows how to react to it instantly.
Wrong: The vast majority of these individuals are low-paid workers whose skill levels at “security” are one step above a greeter at Walmart. Almost none of them are armed. Virtually none of them are trained in hand-to-hand self-defense, basic martial arts, or in any skills that would aid in the defense of someone being attacked. Most of them are bored stiff, paying little attention to details of what’s going on around them, other than asking for a signature on a Visitor sheet or a basic ID. They make TSA people at an average airport (generally low-skilled/low-educated people – been to an airport lately?) look like elite Secret Service agents. I’m not saying that these types of workers are at all “bad” individuals – only that the vast majority of them are fairly low-wage, unskilled workers who receive very little training in providing real, actual, and effective safety and security in a given public environment.
Yet few people ever comment on these realities to building owners or building managers who employ these “security guards.” Face it: We walk on by, content to hope that we really are safe in the building or property we’re visiting. I have some unpleasant news: You’re not. None of us really are. Yet despite this, the private security industry has done little about in in terms of better training for its employees: Training them to, for example:
- Be able to profile persons likely to pose a threat to someone;
- Training them to look for tell-tale trouble signs or threats;
- Training them in faster reaction times in terms of summoning help;
- Even training them in basic first aid.
99% of these employees just sit back, waiting for their shift to come to a merciful end.
These environments are tragedies just waiting to happen – and it happened with lethal consequences for Dr. Richard Field and Dr. Lina Bolanos, in their $1 million-plus luxury condominium building in South Boston, on May 5 2017.
I’ll discuss what happened to these two people, and why the building owners and/or operators are being sued civilly by the families of these two victims for failing to provide adequate security, in my next post on this subject in a few days.
In the meantime, stay safe.