Based on your research, what is negligent security?
300 Word Discussion
Negligence is a common liability associated with tort cases against security practitioners. Whether it is a failure to perform a duty, lack of training or improper level of background screening, negligence liability is one of the biggest problems facing private security.
Some of the cases and material available through online research date back over twenty years but their relevance in today’s scenarios is very much as real now as it was then.
Negligence can also lead to other torts representing serious potential financial losses. An improperly trained security officer runs a high risk of executing a false arrest or unwarranted search of an individual (Moore, 1988).
The class text and related Internet research can point towards a number of cases in which the plaintiffs have prevailed resulting in excessive fines and awards due to bad security practice.
The challenge that typically faces most security companies is that of the cost associated with the training of personnel. Many security contracts have very close profit margins right near actual cost many times. These tight margins prohibit training from a financial perspective.
However, the cost of not providing training can permanently ruin and destroy a business. Even if security companies provide state-mandated training, if required at all, many times the training is minimal and inadequate averaging 8 to 16 hours total (Button, 2007).
Meeting a state’s requirements may satisfy requirements for licensing but may not be enough to keep one out of civil tort for negligence. According to Pastor (2007), if a causal connection between a recognized harm and an insufficient level of training and supervision a negligence case may be proven.
Adequate supervision ties in with training in the respect that ensuring employees are properly prepared to carry out their duties. Recurring and remedial training are seen as components of effective training. Court cases revolving around negligent hiring practices are commonplace and numerous.
A common premise of many negligent hiring cases is:
• The employer knew or should have known that the employee had a particular unfitness for the position so as to create a danger of harm to third persons;
• The particular unfitness was known or should have been known at the time of the employee’s hiring or retention; and this particular unfitness proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury (Pastor, 2007)
Private Security Officers Employment Act of 2004
With the passing of the Private Security Officers Employment Act of 2004 (PSOA), an easier means to provide a substantial criminal records check has been provided to employers. Through established state channels a private security company can submit a criminal check on new and incumbent employees utilizing the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Criminal Information Center records database. This is the largest and most complete national repository of criminal records within the United States.
Other potential areas of negligence when hiring a new employee include physical fitness and education. If a prospective security officer is not properly screened through the staffing process and the requirements of the contract or position to be filled are not properly translated into application and position requirements, the hiring entity is left exposed for potential negligent liability claims.
REVIEW THE CASE LAW BELOW:
RONG DONG LI, Plaintiff, vs. AKAL SECURITY, INC., et al., Defendants. CASE NO. 10cv2465-LAB (BGS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4993 January 17, 2012, Decided January 17, 2012, Filed
Li, an illegal immigrant and detainee at the El Centro Service Processing Center (“Detention Center”), alleges that Akal Security is liable for personal injuries he sustained when two other detainees attacked him in a bathroom. Akal is a private security company that provided security for the Center pursuant to a contract with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (RONG DONG LI, Plaintiff, vs. AKAL SECURITY, INC.)
Li’s story is straightforward. He entered the men’s restroom at the Detention Center and saw two men fighting. He alerted guards, who came quickly, broke up the fight, and escorted the two men from the restroom. As he was washing his hands, after using the restroom himself, one of the men who had been fighting, joined by another man, entered the restroom and attacked Li. The attack lasted for three to four minutes, leaving Li bloody with injuries to his face and body. (RONG DONG LI, Plaintiff, vs. AKAL SECURITY, INC.)
Li’s grievance, in essence, is that Akal Security failed to protect him from the aggressions of fellow detainees at the Detention Center. Typically, this is a civil rights claim brought by prisoners under the Eighth Amendment, and it requires that prison officials demonstrate “deliberate indifference” to “conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm.” Clem v. Lomeli, 566 F.3d 1177, 1181 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 114 S. Ct. 1970, 128 L. Ed. 2d 811 (1994)). Li doesn’t allege, though, that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated by Akal. He simply accuses Akal of negligence: (1) for failing to station guards outside of the restroom to respond to emergencies therein; (2) for its employees’ failure to respond to Li’s cries for help from within the restroom; (3) for its employees’ failure to segregate or detain the man Li had seen fighting, and who subsequently attacked Li; and (4) for failing to investigate the original fight. (RONG DONG LI, Plaintiff, vs. AKAL SECURITY, INC.)
On April 3, 2011, the Court dismissed with prejudice most of Li’s claims against Akal Security. One claim, for the negligent infliction of emotional distress, survived. The Court found that Li hadn’t stated adequate facts to support that claim, but it allowed him the opportunity to do so in amended complaint. Now before the Court is Akal’s motion to dismiss Li’s First Amended Complaint. In addition to alleging the negligent infliction of emotional distress, Li also alleges basic negligence. (RONG DONG LI, Plaintiff, vs. AKAL SECURITY, INC.)
Additional Learning Resources
Review the following links and video pertaining to this lesson.
What is Negligent Security?
C.I.E Service Corp. v Smith
Private Security Guard Liability in California
The Value of Inadequate Security Lawsuits
Sacramento switches security firms after complaints of guards who didn’t show up
Button, M. (2007). Assessing the regulation of private security across Europe. European Journal of Criminology, 4(1), 109-128. DOI: 10.1177/1477370807071733
Moore. R. (1988). Civil liability for negligent and inadequate training: A private security problem. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 4(106), 106-118. doi: 10.1177/104398628800400205
Pastor, J. (2007). Security law and methods. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinmann.
Private Security Officer Employment Assurance Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-453, 118 Stat. 3596. (2004)
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