The Haggard Law Firm’s Pedro Echarte has settled a $1.3 Million negligent security wrongful death case involving the murder of a 21-year-old father in the parking lot of his apartment.

The parents of Jean Desroche knew the apartment complex they lived in with their son, the Lakewood Terrace Apartments in Lakeland, was a dangerous place. Their hope that tragedy would not find their family was destroyed when Jean was shot and killed in the parking lot of the complex on October 9th of 2016.  The shooting occurred late in the evening after Jean returned home after being out with his friends.  At the time of the shooting, the victim’s daughter was 2-years-old.

Echarte argued that the apartment complex had a long history of both violent and non-violent crime. In addition to prior police reports from local law enforcement establishing the prior history of crime at the complex, Echarte obtained emails between the complex and local law enforcement expressing concern about the level of organized criminal activity at the complex. They also discovered social media videos of at least one prior fight occurring within the complex where firearms were brandished.

Despite the history of crime at the complex and management’s concerns, the property did not have access control, surveillance cameras, or 24/7 manned security. Instead, the property had a few hours of off-duty police patrols each month. Plaintiffs argued that the minimal hours of off-duty police patrols were not enough to curb the violence occurring at the complex. The Defendants contended that the security measures in places (i.e., off-duty police patrols) were reasonable and adequate.

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