On Christmas Eve of 2013, a pair of 22-year-old friends (Ilona Flint and Salvatore Belvedere) were sitting in their car in the parking lot at the Westfield Mission Valley mall when they were suddenly shot. Flint had asked Belvedere to come and pick her up from work at one of the mall’s stores when she couldn’t reach his older brother and her fiancée, Gianni. Gianni wound up missing for three weeks before his body was discovered in the trunk of a car in Riverside.
Police found a suspect, Carlo Mercado, and charged him with three counts of murder. Now, the parents of the three victims have collaborated to file a wrongful death lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, alleging that the mall failed to keep the parking lot safe with a lack of lighting and working security cameras. The lawsuit claims that the mall knew that the area was particularly susceptible to criminals, especially during the holiday season, but disregarded the safety of its customers anyway. The attorney representing the plaintiffs said that the murders took place right underneath of a camera that was not filming.
Property owners have a duty to uphold certain standard of safety on their premises. While this mostly refers to the conditions of the property itself, such as maintaining good asphalt, clearing snow and ice and general building maintenance, it also refers to lighting and safety from potential criminals. If the plaintiffs and their legal team are able to prove that the mall was negligent in its failure to provide appropriate safety measures to the parking lot, they will be able to obtain compensatory and potentially punitive damages.
If you believe a loved one has lost his or her life due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to seek damages through a wrongful death claim. Consult the skilled San Diego lawyers of Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire to learn more.