Many retirees have made Kings Point in Delray Beach, Fla., their home. They may choose the area for many reasons, including the weather, the abundance of lifestyle choices, and for the safety and security that living in a retirement community offers. Unfortunately, some residents are questioning their decision, after a series of incidents have put their safety and security in question.
“Two Minutes of Terror”
At 9:15pm September 27, many of the 10,000+ residents of Kings Point received a message on their cell phones that a tornado was coming, and to seek cover. The warning came as a prelude to Hurricane Ian, which would destroy communities in Southwest Florida a day later. The tornado, – which was confirmed by The National Weather Service, – ripped the roofs off several top-floor apartments, toppled cars and steel garbage dumpsters, and snapped trees that were blown into buildings. Firefighters rescued an individual who had become trapped in a bathroom.
“It was shocking,” said resident Ingrid Robinson, of the incident that lasted for less than 10 seconds. “It was so quick, so loud and fast. You really thought it was the end of the world, I seriously thought that for a minute.”
Kings Point residents are concerned about the safety and security of their buildings, which were constructed between 1975 and 1983. With a median age of 80, the thousands who have retired here worry that the two-story condos they live in may not be up to code, and that future storms may prove to be more destructive, and even deadly.
Quality of Water Utilities a Concern of Residents
Residents of the Flanders E complex awoke to yet another safety and security crisis the morning of Saturday, July 23: no water.
A water main break occurred at approximately 5:30am, leaving about 100 Kings Point retirees without water for about seven hours. The cause? Aging pipes, which have been an ongoing issue at the community for months. Just a day earlier, a smaller break occurred and was repaired shortly after residents reported it. According to complex director Mary Ellen Sorce, improvements to the water system, including the replacement of pipes, have been ongoing, but slow, with upgrades scheduled to be completed in six to nine months. Unfortunately, the old infrastructure has affected much more than the quality of drinking water.
Asleep the morning of the watermain break, resident Ingrid Robinson answered a phone call from a neighbor who urged her to come downstairs. Upon exiting the building, Robinson received the shock of a lifetime: her 2002 Honda Civic had been swallowed by a sinkhole.
The car, which had just received more than $5,000 of repairs to ensure perfect running condition, was valued by Robinson at $8,500. However, the insurance company representing the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department, which took full responsibility for the sink hole, offered only $6,700 in compensation, frustrating Robinson, who said that wasn’t nearly enough to replace the vehicle, which she used multiple times a week to get to her part-time retail job. “This is a negligence case,” said Robinson. “It wasn’t an act of God, it was negligence, and I’m being penalized?”
Ingrid Robinson speaks for many of Kings Point’s 10,000 residents, when she voices her frustration and concern. “Even though we may be an older community, we’re not dead yet. And Florida should protect their older community better and not just assume they can sweep us under the carpet.”
More Safety and Security Concerns…Resident Shot While Walking Dog. By Another Resident
On Sunday, April 24, Kings Point resident Herbert Merritt was walking his dog in the grass next to the community’s golf course, Robert Levine, also a resident of Kings Point drove up to him in a golf cart and demanded he move the dog away from the golf course.
An argument ensued, prompting the 64-year-old Merritt to run away with this dog and seek shelter behind a tree, as 74-year-old Levine pulled out a gun and started to shoot at him as he tried to escape. As he was being chased, Merritt received a gunshot wound to his ankle, and said that Levine got out of the golf cart, grabbed a golf club, and began beating him with it.
Merritt yelled for residents to call 911, which several did. He told Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputies that he did not provoke Levine and did not know him. He was later treated for the gunshot wound at Delray Medical Center. Levine, who was also treated at the hospital for an unknown injury was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and discharging a firearm in public.
Premises liability is something that needs to be taken seriously. The state of Florida places a burden on premises/property owners to secure their buildings, parking lots, and land, to ensure that tenants, customers, and guests are protected.
Our law firm is experienced in a particular area of the law referred to as negligent security. This area of the law deals with negligence claims against the owner(s) of properties on which injury, death, or property damage occurs that may have been prevented had the owner taken reasonable precautions to prevent such tragic events.
Notice: As a personal injury firm, we frequently provide legal analysis and opinion on news stories in the hope that victims, family, and friends may gain some valuable insight into our theories of negligence surrounding the available facts. Respectfully, our hearts and thoughts are with those who have suffered as the result of another’s negligence.
If you would like a free, confidential consultation about an incident, please visit our website or call us today at 561-222-2222.