Victims of Crime

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Pasquali Law Litigation

1220 Howard Avenue
Burlingame, CA 94010

 

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email: info12@lawsuite.net

San Mateo Peninsula: (650)579-0100

San Francisco: (415)841-1000

 

AREAS OF EMPHASIS

Insurance Claims: Auto accidents; insurance claims; bad faith denial of claims; personal injury; wrongful death.

Employment Law: Discrimination; harassment; TItle VII; wage & hour claims.

Elder Abuse

Business LitigationBreach of contract

Enforcing Victim Rights

    "Never forget, the office is political.” Mark took another sip of his iced tea. He’d been a Deputy in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. It was 1989 and we’d just settled a trucking accident case for the better part of a half million bucks. My client was so happy; she’d sent me this bombastic floral arrangement - the kind that looks like it belongs in the procession at a mobster's funeral. Now I was moving on to become a prosecutor in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, so I’d invited a former adversary to lunch in order to pick his brain about my new job.

          I was surprised by how little Mark told me about his cases compared to how much he told me about the process. When I became a deputy, I realized why. People aren’t really “people” to a cop, or to a D.A., they’re either “victims, witnesses, or bad guys.” You read through a police report with about as much compassion as perusing the Craig's List. Not that this is bad…if prosecutors, judges and cops worried about “feelings” instead of “justice” the system would become brutally unfair. “Worthy” victims, no matter how defined, would get their day in court while others would see their cases plea bargained down to spitting on the sidewalk. My indoctrination to case value came from Sheila, a pale skinned blonde with prosecutorial experience at both ends of this state: “I look at three things,” she taught me “What’s the charge…What’s the guy’s record…What are the facts of the case.” After Sheila left the office, I carried her thoughts with me throughout ten years as “a D.A.,” like a mantra. For me, and for every prosecutor I know, “feelings” just aren’t part of the equation.


          The system will deal with the perpetrator, but usually not with the victim’s emotions. For the little old lady who gets robbed at The Four Star Hotel, there’s one other “responsible.”  She may not have thought of him, but there he is: Mr. Four Star himself.u.

The Duty of Every Business To Protect Its Patrons

          California ’s courts have repeatedly stressed that innkeepers owe a duty to guests to both warn and protect them in cases where they are aware of similar acts of criminality in the area. A hotel’s duty to: warn guests if there was a recent history of serious crimes; install cameras, floor access restriction; and even hire security personnel, is directly related to the neighborhood and criminal history of which the hotel is aware. In point of fact, the hotel “owes a duty” to protect its guests from any reasonably foreseeable criminal conduct by third persons in the hotel’s common areas. If it cannot “protect,” then the hotel must “warn of particular dangers of which it knows.” Key is in the similarity between prior crimes and the incident in question. I recently settled a claim by an elderly couple that had been robbed at gunpoint while in their room at a 4 star hotel situated in a 5 star neighborhood. The innkeepers’ insurance company had refused to even discuss settlement with my clients, so they came here. Settlement occurred, not because they “hired a lawyer” but because we dug up enough prior unsavory incidents at the hotel to make this Shangri-Lalook more like Nightmare on Elm Street. The hotel chain wouldn’t want that kind of publicity, which would have been essential to our proof, out for public consumption; money cured everyone’s ill feelings.

          For their part, commercial business establishments have an “affirmative obligation” to both discover and remedy dangerous conditions which may be present. The court’s have held that this duty “requires the proprietor to exercise reasonable care to discover whether accidental, negligent or intentionally harmful acts of third persons are occurring or are likely to occur on the business premises.” When the proprietor “fails” to perform those duties, the law holds them “negligent” and financially responsible.

What Did the Hotel Know, When Did They Know It?

          Knowledge, of course, is in the mind of the beholder. Except when it comes to hotels and other commercial establishments. California law provides that “Knowledge of a defective or dangerous condition” is treated as known to the establishment owner if either of the following situations exists: (a) The dangerous condition was “created by an owner, occupant, lessor, employee;” or (b) Knowledge of the danger was “obtained by an employee in the course and scope of his employment.” This is the legal equivalent of mom’s telling their children “I have eyes in the back of my head.” An owner whose employees “know” is assumed to “know” regardless of whether or not their eyes were open or shut.

What You Can Do

          If you’ve been victimized while at a commercial establishment you need to act quickly. First, cooperate with the police. While full cooperation won’t guarantee that the bad guys get locked up, the opposite is quite often true. A victim’s failure to cooperate tells law enforcement that either: (A) it “didn’t happen;” (B) it happened, but “not the way you say it happened;” or (C) you’ve got something to hide.


          Next, find out if “the business employees knew.” Law enforcement isn’t following this angle. They want to put the crook in jail, but the hotel or business establishment’s laissez-faire attitude toward patrons isn’t going to help them “lock this guy up.” It’s not that the cops aren’t able to get this information; it’s just that they don’t want to. The information is irrelevant to their “case.” If you were seriously injured, the best way to get the information is to have your attorney hire an investigator. Good attorneys have a cadre of able and experienced investigators available to them with a single phone call.


          In the end, you’ll be fighting back in two ways: you’ll help “put this one away” and you’ll help your fellow citizens by making certain that business establishments act responsibly toward other patrons in the future. People aren’t just “victims,” they are human beings.

          This office proudly invites you to view testimonials from past clients, inspect a work history of hands-on courtroom experience, and read free information written at LawSuite on behalf of clients. Welcome.

Free Consultation - call Pasquali Law (650) 579-0100

A boutique law office where clients matter.

 

In Burlingame, California and serving the S.F. Bay Area cities of San Francisco, Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Fairfield, Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale, Vallejo, Alameda, Alamo, Albany, American Canyon, Ashland, Bay Point, Belmont, Benicia, Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara, Brentwood, Campbell, Capitola, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Clayton, Cupertino, Danville, Dixon, Dublin, East Palo Alto, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Foster City, Gilroy, Half Moon Bay, Healdsburg, Hercules, Hillsborough, Hollister, Lafayette, Larkspur, Live Oak, Livermore, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Martinez, Menlo Park, Mill Valley, Milpitas, Moraga, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Napa, Newark, North Bay, Novato, Oakley, Orinda, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Peninsula, Petaluma, Piedmont, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, Rohnert Park, San Anselmo, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, San Mateo, San Pablo, San Rafael, San Ramon, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, Scotts Valley, South Bay,, Stanford, Suisun City, Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, Union City, Vacaville, Walnut Creek, Watsonville, Windsor, and Marin County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Monterey County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, and Napa County.