Ronks, PA asked in Consumer Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law and Business Law for Florida

Q: Our pharmacy in FL was burglarized by the alarm company’s tech in 2017. One was caught and sentenced, can we still sue?

The alarm company we hired to install cameras and security system sent out a tech to do the install, that tech later robbed the pharmacy with a help from another person. That second person was caught and sentenced and police immediately knew it was the alarm company’s tech because upon reviewing the footage they saw he knew the exact dead spot in the Pharmacy and the hidden DVR’s location. He also disabled the alarm in the adjacent business which hired the same alarm company. The person caught and sentenced was actually the associate, not the tech himself. It’s not clear if they caught the tech and updates have been vague from the detective. This happened in 2017. How long is the statute of limitations for recovery of damages? We want to sue the alarm for hiring professional robbers as their installers but not sure if we still can

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The Fla. Limitations period for negligence suit is 4 years from either the date of incident or from the time the damage was discovered. Either way, the time is probably up for an action based on negligence, such as negligent hiring or negligent retention. I say "probably" because this forum is not for legal advice, but rather for general legal educational purposes, so no definite answer as to any suit deadline may be given here.

Even if you would be within the limitations period, you wouldn't have a negligent hiring or negligent retention claim based merely on the fact that the employee committed the crime (while off-duty); rather, the employer would have to be on notice of the potential problem, such as if they hired someone without doing a background check that would have revealed a criminal record. Nor would the employer be vicariously (that is, automatically) liable for its employee committing a crime while off-duty.

The potential criminal charge against the culprit has a limitations period as well - probably 5 years, or possibly 6 years if he was continuously absent from the state or was without a reasonably ascertainable place of abode or work within the state during the initial 5-year period.

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