On Thursday a Hinds County jury rendered a $1 million verdict in Clark v. Arlington Properties, Inc.
The case involved a car-jacking of a woman on May 23, 2013 at the Park at Moss Creek Apartments in northeast Jackson off Ridgewood Road. It was a gated property. The gate was supposed to be closed 24/7. But the gate was left open at night. The plaintiff was a thirty year old nurse who was a tenant at the complex. She was coming home from work at 1:00 a.m. and was attacked at gunpoint and robbed in the parking lot and her car stolen.
Before the attack, there was evidence of monthly carjackings in the complex’s parking lot from January 2013 to May 2013. All the car-jackings occurred at night against female tenants.
Testimony showed a pattern of violent crimes on the property. A witness testified that the prior manager requested three armed guards to monitor the front gate and patrol the property. When the Company refused, the manager quit because the property was unsafe.
In January 2013, the new manager made the same request for security; it was again denied. After the request, there continued to be regular carjackings in the parking lot until the plaintiff was car-jacked.
Testimony showed that the security gate was always broken and open, the security lights were out and two of the three security cameras at the front gate were broken for weeks before the attack. The manager testified she requested two armed security guards (one to be stationed at the gate and one to patrol the property). She also testified she was scared to live there.
The Defendants denied liability until the day of trial and then admitted liability for the company and manager. However, the manager refused on the stand to admit liability.
The Plaintiff suffered from physical injuries, PTSD, and anxiety. She was treated for two years for her mental and physical issues, incurred $6,000.00 in medical bills and had a future medical treatment plan of $75,000.00. She also incurred lost wages.
Plaintiff’s counsel were Ashley Ogden, Jim Smith and Tyler Royals of Odgen and Associates in Jackson. Defense counsel were Bill Eckert and Emile Bagneris of Ungarino and Eckert out of New Orleans.
Judge William Gowan presided in the case.