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Security in a courtroom may be inadequate

Property owners are responsible for the safety of visitors to their property. Therefore, they should ensure that their property does not have dangerous areas - such as open holes, insubstantial lighting, broken steps and other dangers. In addition to these dangers, some properties are required to have security measures in place to help ensure the safety of their visitors or customers, such as security lights for night time access, security guards and even security cameras.

Dangerous property in Pittsburgh or property that is inadequately secured can result in a premises liability suit against the property owner if a person becomes injured while on the property. Suppose you fall on a broken step while going into a movie theater and break your arm. The property owner may be held responsible if he didn't bother to fix it or warn customers of the danger.

A lawsuit in Hollidaysburg is challenging the legal system with who can be held responsible when security in a courtroom fails to protect its citizens - in this case, an attorney. In a Blair County courtroom last May, an angered defendant, while still shackled, swung and hit his attorney in the face knocking him out cold for a few moments. The attorney is still recovering.

He has filed a lawsuit against several officials for not keeping him safe. The sheriff's deputies are accused of not having adequate restraints on the defendant, who had allegedly killed his estranged girlfriend. They are also accused of not reacting in a timely manner. All in all, charges have been brought against county commissioners, the sheriff's department, the prison board, the district attorney and three deputies. The attorney is seeking compensation for his injuries.

County attorneys are fighting back, stating that the attorney must prove that his injuries were a direct result of a defect in the physical building and not the deputies' actions. The attorney's defense claims that the courthouse was not safe for the intended activities it is used for and expected to be used for. The assaulted attorney was appointed by the court to defend this man, who is a death-row inmate. He has resigned his position since the incident.

Source:, "Officials: Burns suit must be dismissed" Phil Ray, Jan. 08, 2014

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