Woman is Assaulted When Security Guard Fails to Use CCTV Camera

Inna Kraner, J.D.

Written by
— Updated on October 6, 2017

cctvThis case involves a woman who was returning to work in an office complex after she had gone to pick up pizzas for herself and several co-workers. When the woman got out of her car, she was hit in the back of the head. When she turned to look, she saw a man standing over her with a solid metal bar. The man pushed the woman into her car across the front seat and hit her repeatedly with the metal bar. The woman blew her horn and the man ran away. The owner of the office complex had a contract for security services that provided for the security service to install, operate and maintain a building security system that monitored all persons entering and leaving the building through the use of closed circuit television. The security management company advertised to the owner of the office complex that it would have security in place at all times, which included patrols of the parking lot. The security company had installed 20 cameras located throughout the office complex that were connected to four monitors. The guard at the security desk was supposed to use one of the cameras to scan the area of the parking lot where the woman’s car was parked. When this camera was in the scan mode, it could cover this part of the parking lot every few seconds. At the time of the attack, the security guard on duty did not have the camera in scan mode. The woman sued the owner of the building and the security company for negligence in failing to prevent her attack.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. If a security guard in an office complex fails to use a security camera in scan mode and a worker is assaulted, is this negligence?

Expert Witness Response

Usually, if the owner of a building decides to provide security services to workers there and there is a security lapse that causes a worker to be injured, the owner may be liable for the worker’s injury. This is called the “voluntary undertaking” doctrine. A security service may also be held liable for a worker’s injury under this doctrine because they contractually assumed the duty of using reasonable care to provide security services for the workers in the building. In this case, the contractual duty of the security guard was to protect workers against harm by using measures to reduce the risk of assault. Because of this, the owner of the building and the security company were both probably negligent since the security guard failed to use the camera to scan the parking lot in the proper way. Since the security guard failed to use proper safety techniques even though he was contractually required to do so, both the owner of the building and the security service would probably be found negligent in this case.

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