Jamie Schare Friedland, the wife of carjacking victim Dustin Friedland, has filed a lawsuit against the owners of The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey, claiming they put profits ahead of security at the mall.
Friedland’s lawyers say the mall’s owners, Michigan-based Taubman Centers, knew the mall was ripe for carjackings since its assortment of luxury retailers – Saks, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom among them - attracts a high-end clientele who drive the expensive vehicles highly sought by car thieves, said NJ.com.
Friedland had just let his wife into the passenger side of their 2012 Range Rover when, prosecutors say, he was shot in the head during a struggle. Three Newark men were arrested and are facing murder charges, said NJ.com.
The lawsuit cites four previous carjackings at the mall of female shoppers, including a gunpoint robbery of two women driving a Jeep in 2006 and a knifepoint robbery of a 56-year-old woman in 2009.
“Despite these repeated incidents and the grave threat posed to its shoppers and patrons, several years ago, the Mall ceased hiring police officers to provide security at the mall, citing budgetary concerns,” Friedland’s lawyer, Bruce Nagel, writes in the complaint. “In order to increase profits, the owners and operators of the Mall elected to provide reduced security for its shoppers, patrons and invitees,” Nagel wrote.
A representative for Taubman Centers could not immediately be reached for comment.
The lawsuit claims emergency responders took too long to get to Friedland after the 911 call was made, said NJ.com. “It took an extended and excessive period of time from the time the call was placed until an ambulance from the First Aid Squad responded to the scene,” the lawsuit says. The response was further delayed when the ambulance was unable to fit underneath the parking deck, forcing emergency responders to wheel a stretcher up the ramp to retrieve Friedland and bring him back down to the ambulance, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit ticks off state carjacking statistics for Essex County that, Friedland’s lawyers say, mall officials should have been aware of in laying out their security plan. Last year, the lawsuit says, there were 475 carjackings in Essex County, up from 271 in 2010, said NJ.com. “The carjacking epidemic in Essex County was known to the defendants for years prior to the incident in this case,” it adds.