Our last post discussed the recent collapse of a deck at a Miami-area sports bar. The bar’s deck suddenly fell out from underneath a large crowd during the Heat-Spurs game last Thursday night, plunging around a hundred victims into Biscayne Bay and injuring dozens.
Authorities have not announced what went wrong-but the collapse might have involved a combination of premises liability or disrepair issues.
First, property owners who maintain areas that are open to the public have certain obligations to their customers and guests. One obligation that few people would question is a responsibility to maintain facilities so that serious accidents like this do not occur. For example, this collapse might have involved something as simple as an old and poorly maintained support beam under the deck. If so, routine maintenance might have avoided these injuries.
Another common problem in restaurants and bars involves crowd control. Bars and nightclubs are subject to fire code restrictions that control how many people the facility can accommodate at one time. A collapse like this could be an indication that the crowd on the deck exceeded its weight ratings.
In either of these scenarios (not to mention numerous other potential problems), the sports club could find itself liable to the victims for premises-related negligence.
Source: Fox Sports, “Florida sports bar deck collapses,” Associated Press, June 14, 2013