A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Business Owner Found Not Liable for Failure to Have Functioning Surveillance Camera to Protect Patron from Theft

By on December 11, 2015 in Blog with 0 Comments

The plaintiff Sharon Glenn went to the UPS store to discuss shipping a large package. She claims to have placed her purse and an envelope with $600 in cash on the counter. After receiving a quote to ship the package from the UPS clerk, she picked up her purse but accidentally left the envelope on the counter. After walking 4 blocks, she realized she left the envelope on the counter and ran back to the store but the envelope was gone. Plaintiff requested that the UPS store review its security camera to find out who took her envelope but the camera was not working. In Glenn v. Duroseau, 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2864 (App. Div. Dec. 10, 2015), the plaintiff claimed that the defendant UPS owner was liable to her for failing to have a functioning security camera.

The plaintiff contended that the UPS clerk must have taken her money. However, there was insufficient proof of how long it took plaintiff to walk the 4 blocks or how many people were in and out of the UPS store during that time period.

Nevertheless, the trial court judge found that the UPS store owner was negligent in not maintaining a functioning security camera which would have established who actually took the money. However, the Appellate Division held that such an extension of a business owner’s duty to a patron “is untethered to any precedential or statutory authority.”

The Court noted that a proprietor does owe a duty to protect patrons from foreseeable criminal acts of third parties occurring on their premises. Foreseeability is the crucial element in determining whether such a duty should be imposed on an alleged tortfeasor. Here, the UPS owner had never experienced a similar theft, nor was he aware of his malfunctioning security camera. Hence, the Appellate Division found no basis to conclude that the defendant was negligent in failing to maintain his security system and reversed the judgment entered in favor of plaintiff.

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About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

For the years 2020 and 2021, Ms. Ramos was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Litigation - Insurance. The attorneys on this list are selected based upon the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. A complete description of The Best Lawyers in America© methodology can be viewed via their website at: https://www.bestlawyers.com/methodology.

In 2021, Capehart Scatchard and Ms. Ramos received the “Best Law Firm” ranking in the area of Litigation – Insurance (Metro, Tier 3) published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®. Law firms included on the list are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have at least one attorney who has been included in the current edition of Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of practicing lawyers in the United States. Betsy Ramos (Litigation – Insurance) was recognized for this prestigious award in the 2021 edition. For a description of the “Best Law Firm” selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

“Best Law Firms” is published by Best Lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report. For a description of the selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

*No aspect of this advertisement has been submitted to or approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

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