Lenox Square Mall, sometimes just referred to as Lenox Mall or Buckhead Mall, was once a popular hangout and shopping spot of the uptown Buckhead district of Atlanta.
Nowadays, however, the mall has become a grim joke, often called “cursed” or compared with Lake Lanier, another statistically dangerous place to spend leisure time in Georgia. Unlike Lake Lanier, however, Lenox Square Mall’s deadly reputation has drastically reduced its popularity, in spite of the revitalization efforts of its parent company, Simon Property Group, Inc.
Few Buckhead residents and visitors are willing to risk setting foot in the mall anymore, and with new reports of crime and accidents stacking up every few months, it’s not hard to understand why.
When a location becomes known for its dangers and tragedies, it’s important to keep in mind that those tragedies are not the fault of the people who optimistically frequent these places in a peaceful, rule-abiding manner.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with choosing to avoid a place that make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, if that’s your preference. However, everyone has a right to go about their business in publicly accessible spaces, exercising an ordinary level of caution, and expect to be safe. Generally, it’s the owners of those spaces who are legally responsible for making sure this is the case.
If you have been the victim of a Lenox Square Mall accident or crime, you are just that — the victim — and your decision to try to enjoy a local amenity, regardless of its dubious safety record, does not in any way lessen your right to compensation.
Below, we’ll discuss Lenox Square Mall’s safety history and common reasons why you might need to pursue a wrongful death or personal injury suit against this Buckhead mall. If at any time you would prefer to speak directly with a lawyer about suing Lenox Square Mall, just let us know in the chat window.
Lenox Square Mall Has Become Infamous for Unrelenting Gun Violence
It’s impossible to take an honest look at the safety of Lenox Square Mall without talking about the seemingly endless string of shootings and near-misses that have plagued its shoppers and employees for years. There were at least six such shootings in 2020 alone, even though the mall was closed due to COVID precautions for part of that time.
Some of the more frightening firearm-related incidents in the mall’s history have been accidents, including the time in 2017 when a child found a gun under a changing room bench, and his mother discharged it into a wall “to see if it was real,” and the time shortly before Christmas of 2020, when a shopper dropped a gun out of his waistband, and it went off, sending other shoppers fleeing.
Many others have been deliberate acts of violence. These examples are by no means a complete inventory:
- December of 2019, a woman was shot in the parking garage during an attempted robbery.
- February of 2020, a man was shot in the parking lot, and his assailants were caught on camera taking a suitcase from his car.
- March of 2020, a man was shot and killed, also in the parking lot, in an apparent dispute over a parking space.
- October of 2020, a man checking out at the Neiman Marcus department store opened fire on four others who, he says, were trying to steal his bag. Two of the accused robbers were arrested, and the shooter turned out to be a convicted felon with outstanding warrants. He was charged with reckless conduct and illegal possession of a firearm.
All of these incidents either caused serious harm, or easily could have done so if not for tremendous luck. None of them, intentional or unintentional, should have happened.
Simon Property Group Is Responsible for Providing a Safe Environment
Every company that invites people onto its property has a duty to take all reasonable steps to protect those people from any dangers its employees know (or should know) about.
Often, when a person is injured on a company’s property, the question of whether the company is liable comes down to whether or not it should have known about, and addressed, the hazard that caused the injury.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that Simon Property Group is aware of the danger of shootings at Lenox Square Mall. As these incidents continue, the question becomes, does Simon Property Group’s response to the problem qualify as “taking all reasonable steps”?
Lenox Square Mall security has become fairly intense over the past few years. The mall has its own subdepartment of the Atlanta police, in addition to a private security force and surveillance system. In December of 2020, the mall announced the addition of metal detectors and a K-9 unit. In September of 2021, it instituted a policy requiring minors to be accompanied after 3pm, and offered to provide customers with personal security escorts upon request.
While Simon Property Group obviously isn’t ignoring its duty to provide security in this situation, that doesn’t necessarily make the company blameless in all violent incidents going forward. For one thing, it can be easy for a strong security force, especially a new one in a tense situation, to overstep and become the cause of violence instead of stopping it. The company is legally responsible for any potential misconduct on the part of its employees.
Assuming that every security guard does perform the job correctly, each new incident still raises questions about what the company could be doing differently to keep people safe.
Lenox Square Mall’s Security Problems Have Continued in 2021
Crime in the Buckhead area at large has only risen since 2020, and Lenox Square Mall’s issues with it have not ended.
Some months after the addition of the metal detectors, officers noticed two men walking around the detectors to get into the mall. When the officers approached, the men ran into the Macy’s and attempted to hide their gun there. They were caught immediately and no one was hurt, but the fact that they were able to bring a gun past the security checkpoint at all suggests continued danger and possible weaknesses in the checkpoint’s layout.
Other incidents from 2021 are concentrated around the mall’s exterior and in its parking structures — long-standing problem areas which remain outside the new security checkpoints.
- In June, two teenagers shot and critically injured a security guard while attempting to break into the Apple store after hours from outside the mall.
- In August, a man drove himself to Grady Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound and reported having been shot near the mall’s parking garage.
- In September, two men shot at another inside the parking garage, in the course of mugging him.
The Lenox Square Mall exterior and parking area count as mall property, and it seems that Simon Property Group may not be devoting enough of its security efforts to keeping these areas safe.
Violence at Lenox Square Mall Doesn’t Erase Other Dangers
With so much attention understandably focused on Lenox Square Mall’s violent crime rate, it’s all too easy to overlook the everyday hazards that crop up on mall premises.
Just like any other mall, however, Lenox Square has escalators and elevators that need to be serviced regularly, floors that become slippery when wet, and displays that can become tripping hazards if not well planned and positioned.
If anything, the amount of attention and money demanded by the mall’s security problems is reason to worry all the more about whether other types of safety precautions are still getting the investment they need.
Many survivors of slip-and-falls and similar premises accidents blame themselves, or worry that they are making too much of a fuss, especially when others around them are facing traumas, like gun violence, that seem bigger.
The reality is that these seemingly minor accidents often have costly, lifelong health consequences, and property owners have much more power to prevent them than even the most careful of visitors. Companies like Simon Property Group are required to keep their publicly accessible premises in safe-to-traverse condition for a reason.
If you’ve suffered trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident at Lenox Square Mall, or any other accident caused by hidden hazards or maintenance failures, your injuries matter too.
What to Do After a Violent Altercation or Accident at Lenox Square Mall
Should you or a loved one ever fall victim to a violent crime or accident at the Buckhead mall, following these steps closely and quickly can help make your recovery as full and simple as possible:
- If you are in an active shooter situation, follow recommended survival protocol and run away. If you don’t know how to reach an exit without getting closer to the shooter, find a place to hide and avoid drawing attention to yourself. If this is also not possible, as a last resort, you can try moving aggressively and decisively to subdue the shooter with whatever you have available. As soon as it is safe to do so, notify the mall’s police or security officers, or call 9-1-1 on your phone.
- If there is no immediate threat of violence, but someone is clearly seriously injured, call 9-1-1 to request an ambulance.
- If you are still in the mall, and you feel safe and well enough to do so, try to capture video or still photos of anything you believe could have contributed to the incident. If the incident was a crime, you might find yourself documenting things like unattended entrances to the mall. If it was an accident, this step is especially important for recording slipping and tripping hazards before they can be cleaned up.
- While in a safe place, trade contact information with any fellow witnesses to the incident.
- If there is no clear need for emergency care, but there is a chance that you or your child were physically harmed, schedule a medical examination as soon as possible. This is critical — many accidents can cause serious skeletal damage that may not become obvious right away.
- If you determine that you or your child have been injured in the incident, or any member of your family has been killed, speak with a lawyer who handles Buckhead mall shootings or Buckhead mall premises accidents right away. Typically, there will be a limited window for your lawyer to request the surveillance footage of the incident before it is erased, so time is of the essence.
The experts at The Stoddard Firm are ideally qualified to help you bring a successful lawsuit against Lenox Square Mall and Simon Property Group. We’re closely familiar with the mall’s safety issues, as well as all relevant areas of law, including premises liability, negligent security, personal injury, and wrongful death.
To discuss your case and learn more about your rights and options, you can reach us at any time at 678-RESULT or through our online chat function for a free consultation.