Attorney Analysis: Crime victim lawyer Marc Lenahan will add legal commentary in the second section of this article, discussing a question often asked by shooting victims and their families: can I sue for a nightclub shooting?
In late April, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) canceled the permit for the well-known Lubbock nightclub Level. This decision was made following a double-fatal New Year's day shooting at the club and officials say Level has a history of violence.
Police are still searching for a suspect in the New Year's Day shooting. 17-year-old Garyontae Shephard was shot and killed in the street outside of Level nightclub and 24-year-old Dedrick Traylor was fatally shot inside of the club in the early hours of New Years Day this year.
According to the police, there have been other incidents of violence at the club before the New Year's Day shooting. Lubbock Police Department Chief Floyd Mitchell said during a press conference that the department responded to seven assault calls at the nightclub between November 24 and January 1.
The TABC suspended the club's liquor license for one week immediately after the shooting. On January 10, they issued a 90-day suspension, which is the longest ever levied by the TABC.
This newest action by the TABC will permanently cancel the nightclub's liquor license. This can be done under Section 11.61 (b)(7) of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, which allows the TABC to revoke a business permit if the business is operating in a way that could endanger public health, safety, or welfare.
The murders remain under investigation by the Lubbock Police Department. It is not known whether the Level nightclub will reopen in the future.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan is a crime victim attorney who represents victims and their families in civil lawsuits for crimes enabled by negligence. Marc has offered to share some of his knowledge on lawsuits for nightclub shootings:
Nightclubs often have issues with violent crime, from fights to shootings and stabbings. This is why nightclub owners must keep their premises secure and their patrons and employees safe. In fact, nightclub owners and all business owners are legally required to keep their premises free of preventable hazards, including foreseeable violent crime.
Not all nightclub shootings are foreseeable, but many may not have happened if it weren't for negligence by the nightclub owner. For example, if the club had a history of violence but the club owner failed to make safety improvements in an effort to reduce that violence, the owner could be considered negligent. Examples such safety improvements may include security guards and weapons searches.
If you or a loved one has been wounded or killed in a nightclub shooting, you can learn more about your family's legal rights in a free consultation with one of our experienced shooting victim lawyers.