Can the homeowner’s association of the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford be named in a civil wrongful-death suit in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin? Some experts are saying yes, stating that the victim’s family might sue the homeowner association and property-management company because of the way the neighborhood watch program was established and operated.
The shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin by Neighborhood Watch captain, George Zimmerman, at the Sanford subdivision has spurred nationwide protests and international media attention.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the gated-community’s September 2011 homeowner association newsletter specifically pointed to Zimmerman as its go-to contact person concerning Neighborhood Watch updates, safety tips, and notifications of any suspicious activity in the community. His phone number had even been included.
Jan Bergmann, the operator of a homeowner-association watchdog group called Cyber Citizens for Justice said the Retreat at Twin Lakes’ association probably should have issued a set of guidelines that disallowed its crime-watch volunteers from carrying guns when doing watch-related activities. He went on to say that not having those kinds of guidelines can spell trouble for any homeowners association if something bad happens.
“If the Martin family brings a wrongful death lawsuit, more or less I think the association will be on the hook,” he told the Sentinel.
Associations facing legal damages in the past have tried to file for bankruptcy – a strategy that has been frowned upon by judges. According to Bergmann, the watch-program would not be covered by an “errors-and-omissions” insurance policy because it is considered more of a neighborhood committee.
The FL wrongful death lawsuit attorneys at Farah & Farah, along with the rest of the nation, will be keeping an eye on the ongoing Trayvon Martin case. If you feel that a loved one has died due to the negligence of another in Florida, please give us a call at (800) 533-3555. The call is free and confidential.