The Haggard Law Firm’s Michael Haggard and Adam Finkel have obtained a $1 Million pre-suit settlement in a negligent security wrongful death case against a gas station operator.

On July 15, 2020, just before midnight 20-year-old Zion Lamar was shot and killed at a Solo gas station in Pompano Beach. Zion lived nearby with his girlfriend and was sent to purchase snacks but never returned home.

Precisely what transpired is unknown as the owner of the gas station did not install functioning surveillance cameras, nor did the clerk respond to audible commotion occurring on the property. Although there is a cell phone video of Zion writhing on the ground, he died shortly thereafter and there is no known eyewitness testimony. It is believed that an altercation occurred outside involving several people, during which Zion was shot.

This settlement was reached after The Haggard Law Firm presented its position regarding the clear liability in this case and the damages associated with the death of a young man. While the defense could not contest the staggering history of daily drug dealing, public intoxication, and violence at the gas station, the defense contested the Plaintiff’s description of the damages in the case.

Specifically, the defense contended that Zion Lamar was not on the property for innocent purposes, but was instead engaging in illicit behavior, and perhaps armed with a firearm. Although no evidence was produced to support this theory, the defense seemingly held out hope that evidence would materialize—perhaps from law enforcement’s ongoing criminal investigation. (Since the settlement, an arrest was made and it is reported that law enforcement determined that Zion was not involved in the altercation that led to his death).

Managing Partner Michael Haggard

Focusing on the property owner’s failure to comply with the Convenience Business Security Act, which outlines mandatory safety requirements for a gas station convenience store, and the property’s complete deviation from industry norms, The Haggard Law Firm perceived the defense’s assertions as an attempt to deflect from clear liability. In essence, the defense argued that Mr. Lamar’s mere presence on the property meant that he had to be one of the very people that brought criminal activity to its property.

Ultimately, an extensive pre-suit investigation built an insurmountable case that compelled the defense to tender their minimal policy limits. Specifically, The Haggard Law Firm provided video surveillance, capturing drug dealing on the property, and intoxicated persons loitering. Further, the property owner’s other neighboring businesses were investigated, and unsurprisingly those have inadequate security. Lastly, employees were interviewed and their responses evidenced how little the property owner cared about safety on the premises.

The Haggard Law Firm has an extensive history litigating negligent security cases at gas stations. To learn more, click here

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