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| Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C.

I got a call last week from a person who was robbed by a bad guy in the parking lot of a big box store here in Mobile. There were several lights out in the section that he parked and he did not see his assailant until it was too late. Also, parking lot security at this store is apparently non-existent. In most states, business owners have a duty to provide customers with a safe place to park and shop. In Alabama, not so much. In this state, you have to show that the business owner was on notice that the PARTICULAR assailant was trying to do harm to a PARTICULAR person. How often does that happen. In the foregoing scenario, 30 different people could be robbed in that same spot on 30 consecutive nights and the store will still not have any duty for safety. This naturally encourages business owners to spend the least that they can on security. It also leads to tragic results.

Two years ago, a woman came to Mobile from North Alabama to attend her daughter’s graduation at a local college. She rented a room at a nation wide chain located on the interstate service road near the college. As she unlocked her room (on the back side of the motel), she was pushed inside and brutally raped and beaten by her attacker. The police detective that investigated the matter told her that it was the fifth rape in three months in that area. The motel did not have any form of security – no cameras, no security guards and no warning that this was a dangerous area. I had to give her the bad news.

When the law imposes no duties on business owners for safety, this is how things turn out. And that is just not right. Please, call the state representative in your district and tell that person how you feel. He or she probably has no idea that this is the state of affairs in Alabama.

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