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Wrongful death suit related to fatal carjacking moves forward

On Nov. 6, a judge in New Jersey blocked an attempt by the owners of a shopping mall to prevent security footage from being publicly disclosed. The footage in question was recorded at a Short Hills mall on Dec. 15, 2013, the night that four men allegedly shot and killed a man in the mall's parking lot during a carjacking.

In March, the deceased man's widow filed a wrongful death suit for unspecified damages against the mall's owners and the security company that they employed. According to the wrongful death complaint, Essex County has a high rate of carjackings and that particular Short Hills mall had been the site of four previous carjackings. Moreover, the suit claims that the property owners failed to take customers' safety into account when making cuts to security and ceasing the practice of hiring off-duty police officers to patrol the property.

Reportedly, the argument for the protective order was that people viewing the footage might glean strategic information about the mounted locations of surveillance cameras. An attorney for the firm that owns the mall said that such information could lead to more crimes. The mall's security firm also attempted to secure a protective order to prevent some of its documents from being released to the public for similar reasons. A Superior Court judge denied the motions for most of the documents that the company sought to protect.

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that people entering their premises, including parking lots, are safe from harm. In the event that a property owner defaults on his or her legal duty to maintain a safe premises and someone dies as a result, a personal injury attorney may guide the victim's family through the process of building a civil case against the negligent party.

Source: NJ.com, 'Wife of Short Hills mall carjacking victim files lawsuit over husband's death," Thomas Zambito, Mar. 14, 2014

Source: NJ.com, "Short Hills mall denied bid to prevent public disclosure of videos related to fatal carjacking", Bill Wichert, November 07, 2014

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