SUMMARY JUDGMENT PROPERLY GRANTED FOR DEFENDANT SECURITY COMPANY, WHERE ITS CONTRACT WITH A HOSPITAL LIMITED ITS OBLIGATION TO PROTECTING THE HOSPITAL AND ITS EMPLOYEES ONLY, EXPRESSLY DISAVOWING A DUTY TO PROTECT OTHERS.
Glickman v. Kindred Hospitals East, LLC, 46 Fla. L. Weekly D97 (Fla. 3d DCA, January 6, 2021):
In this slightly bizarre case, an 87-year-old was sitting in a hospital lobby with a friend. The two shared a close mutual friend who was receiving long-term care in that hospital. As the two sat in the lobby, the man pulled out a revolver, and shot the woman multiple times without provocation or reason. She survived.
The plaintiffs sued the hospital as well as several other defendants including the security company. The security company moved for summary judgment on the basis that it owed no duty to the plaintiffs because its contract with the hospital limited it to protecting the hospital and its employees, and expressly disavowed a duty to protect others. It also asserted that nothing in its conduct foreseeably created a broader zone of risk encompassing such a crime on the premises.
Even though the security company’s actions in providing security reflected a general undertaking to protect visitors, the court ruled there was no duty to provide security to those outside its contractual limits. Additionally, even though the written contract had expired, and was never renewed in writing, the hospital had continued to pay. The court found these facts could not create a genuine issue of material fact either, because there was not enough for a reasonable jury to find that the security company expressly or by implication agreed by contract or by a voluntarily undertaking, to expand the scope of services and liability beyond those stated in the written contract.