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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Gas Station and Apartment Complex 

On February 29th, 2024, Fox 5 Atlanta reported that the family of a 19-year-old who was killed in a shooting last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an apartment complex and a gas station (Atlanta RaceTrac and The Mix). According to the complaint, lack of security in a long-troubled area contributed to the fatal shooting. The Atlanta RaceTrac gas station has now shut down its operations. Here, our Atlanta wrongful death lawyer provides an overview of the incident, the allegations in the wrongful death lawsuit, and the key elements of Georgia law. 

Background: Teen Shot and Killed at Large Party

De’Asia Hart, 19, was shot and killed in Atlanta in October of 2023. Mr. Hart was an innocent bystander who was struck after gunfire erupted near the Georgia State University (GSU) campus in Atlanta. The incident, which occurred after an argument escalated at a RaceTrac convenience store, left four people shot. Tragically, Ms. Hart left behind a one-year-old daughter. 

RaceTrac Gas Station Closed Down After Another Shooting (February 2024)

While Atlanta RaceTrac continued to operate after the deadly October 2023 shooting of De’Asia Hart, it is no longer open for business. In February 2024, the RaceTrac gas station near the Georgia State University campus in Atlanta closed permanently following a series of violent incidents, including the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Javare Shakir-Fulford near the premises. The closure came after discussions involving Georgia State University President M. Brian Blake, company officials, and local police about taking action to enhance security in the area. 

Wrongful Death Allegations: Inadequate Security

Following the incident, Ms. Hart’s family has been vocal in demanding justice. Notably, they have filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against RaceTrac and the ownership group of The Mix apartment complex. They cite negligence that contributed to Ms. Hart’s tragic death in an area with a history of violence. The civil lawsuit seeks to hold these companies accountable for the lack of security. 

It should be noted that the wrongful death complaint highlights that a large, unruly party was happening in the area at the time of the incident. However, there were no security personnel on site. Further, the lack of security is an issue that has been raised in this area before. Notably, “The Mix” is an off-campus student housing center that is run by a private company and works with GSU. 

A Wrongful Death Claim Can Be Filed On the Grounds of Premises Liability

A wrongful death claim is a civil cause of action. It can be filed on a number of different grounds, including premises liability. In Georgia, businesses and property owners have a general duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe and secure condition for customers, guests, and other passersby. They may be liable for an injury or death if their negligence contributes to harm. Notably, negligent security claims are a subset of premises liability claims. 

Negligent security is a legal principle that is used to describe a situation where a property owner or manager fails to provide adequate security measures. For example, if a crime leading to an injury or death could have been prevented through reasonable security measures—from better lighting to working security cameras to trained personnel—the business/property owner may be liable. 

An Overview of Wrongful Death Damages in Georgia

No amount of financial compensation could ever truly set things right if you lost a family member because of negligent security. The person(s) responsible for the criminal act should be held accountable. Along the same lines, any business or property owner who puts profits before people should be held civil liable. Wrongful death compensation is designed to provide financial support to a grieving family to help them navigate a traumatic, difficult time. In Georgia, wrongful death damages may include: 

  • Out of pocket medical bills; 
  • Funeral and burial expenses; 
  • Loss of financial support, including insurance coverage; 
  • Loss of love, care, support, companionship, and consortium. 

Get Help From Our Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney Today

At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Georgia wrongful death lawyers have the legal expertise that families can trust when it matters most. If you lost a loved one due to negligent security by a business or property owner, we are here to fight for justice. Contact us today to set up your free, fully confidential initial appointment. From our legal offices in Atlanta and Augusta, we handle wrongful death claims throughout Georgia, including Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton counties.