You’re Gonna Be a Star, Kid
I love being a lawyer. True story – I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was two years old. When other kids dressed up as firefighters, ghosts, and baseball players for Halloween, I borrowed my dad’s briefcase and went as a lawyer. He wasn’t even a lawyer, but he had a briefcase, which was part of the costume.
I knew what lawyers were like. My mom and I would watch L.A. Law. I knew they had briefcases, pithy one-liners, and, of course, Ferraris.
My love of the law began with these types of depictions from Hollywood. Over the years, I realized that most of Hollywood’s depictions of lawyers are flawed, dramatized, and harmful to the profession. I say most because, quite frankly, there are some depictions of lawyers that are not so bad. If you can get past the “practicing without a license” thing, the actual lawyering in My Cousin Vinny is surprisingly decent. For the record, if one of my students is reading this, don’t get over the “practicing without a license” thing. Do not do that.
Now when I watch movies and television shows, my legal background poses a bit of a problem. For instance, I love everything Marvel Studios makes, from Iron Man to Jessica Jones. But as a trial lawyer, I find myself distracted at times.
Most people watch an amazing show like Luke Cage and just enjoy it for the action, social commentary, and wonderful acting. I watch it and wonder about premise liability.
Florida law provides that a landlord is not automatically responsible for the criminal acts of a third party. However, a landlord quickly becomes responsible for these acts if the problems were reasonably foreseeable and the landlord fails to act (see Paterson v. Deeb, 472 So.2d 1210 [Fla. 1st DCA 1985]). This means that if a landlord ignores or fails to properly deal with dangers on their property, that landlord can be held responsible for their tenants’ and their guests’ injuries which result from that failure to act.
At Glassman & Zissimopulos Law, we handle these matters, commonly referred to as premise liability cases. We have worked with experts in premise security who have experience in Gainesville, Florida, and the surrounding area. These experts can assess a location and analyze a variety of factors. They can determine crime statistics for a location, compliance with state and federal regulations, and whether a property owner has used reasonable and necessary tools to keep their tenants safe.
All of these experiences stay with a lawyer, even when I’m watching Netflix. So when I see the villainous Cottonmouth shoot a rocket launcher at the diner during an episode of Marvel’s Luke Cage, my mind immediately goes to questions of liability. No doubt people had been injured in that diner. The business was certainly on notice that Luke Cage possessed supernatural powers and that people around him were up to no good. The diner owners decided to hire Luke Cage to provide “security” for their restaurant.
After that, Luke Cage is targeted by his arch-nemesis, Cottonmouth, who shoots a rocket launcher at the building. Perhaps a viable claim could be made against the diner’s owners for negligent hiring, retention, and security. At a minimum, these owners should have warned their customers that their diner was a popular battle zone for these supernatural beings.
I love being a lawyer, and I love good movies and television. The intersection of these two joys in my life often makes for fun debate and analysis.