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An Orange County jury has awarded $1.7 million to a man who was shot while parking his car at the Hilton Embassy Suites in Orlando.

The verdict came in a premises liability lawsuit filed by Troy Anderson against the Hilton Hotel chain, Interstate Management Company and SecurAmerica. He was shot twice during a car-jacking in the Embassy Suites parking lot in 2008 and suffered serious and life-threatening injuries.

When a person in Florida files a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent property owner, it is sometimes referred to as a premises liability lawsuit.

In the Orange County premises liability lawsuit, Anderson alleged that lax security at the Embassy Suites led to his injuries.

Following is from an Orlando television report on the $1.7 million verdict:

“I was shot and robbed and carjacked on their property,” said Anderson.

Despite being shot twice, Anderson was able to walk to the front door of the hotel. In hotel surveillance video hotel security guards can be seen handing Anderson a towel.

The jury awarded Anderson $1.7 million, but he said he’s most proud of being a voice against a huge company.

“If somebody didn’t stand up and say something this will continue to happen,” said Anderson.

In general, owners of commercial property in Florida – including offices, stores, shopping malls, theaters, hotels and restaurants – have a legal duty to make sure their premises are safe for visitors and guests. If someone is injured or killed because of an unsafe condition on commercial property, they may have a right to sue for financial damages.

Evidence submitted at trial showed that the hotel, its management company and security service failed in that duty in the following ways:

  • The security officers acted as little more than uniformed housekeepers. They spent more time delivering bedding, towels and other items to guests than patrolling outside the hotel.
  • The parking lot was pitch black.
  • Floodlights in the area where the attack occurred had been burned out for months.
  • The hotel would wait until enough floodlight bulbs had burned out to justify bringing in a lift machine to replace them.
  • On the night of the crime, a security guard was on patrol outside the hotel only infrequently.
  • Security concerns had been brought to the hotel’s attention but nothing was done.

The case is Troy Anderson v. Hilton Hotels, et al., Case No. 2009-CA-040473-O, Fla. 9th Judicial Circuit.

Source: WFTV-9 Orlando