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Football fans sue NFL team for premises liability claim

Two football fans have filed a premises liability complaint after they were injured in the parking lot during a game last year. The game in San Francisco, California, was between the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers. One victim was beaten unconscious by unruly fans while the other one was shot four times while attempting to give aid to the unconscious fan.

The victims are filing their premises liability claim against the San Francisco 49ers and the security company that provides security for the parking lot area. The claim alleges that the parking lot was unsafe and that the team and security company had the duty to provide an environment that was free of fighting, gang activity and aggressive tactics of fans.

To bolster their case, the fans quoted NFL legend Joe Montana, who once said that 49ers coaches told the players prior to an Oakland-San Francisco game that their families should stay home and watch the game on television because of the enhanced danger of potentially violent rival fans fighting with one another.

The 49ers have provided a statement refuting the allegations that the stadium and surrounding area is a dangerous property. They insist that the stadium has been rated at the highest security level rating that the NFL bestows.

The statements by Montana may be particularly troublesome for the 49ers. Premises liability often rests on the knowledge that the property owner had about dangerous conditions on the property at the time of the accident. Montana's statements could indicate that the landowner was aware of the hazardous conditions on the parking lot between rival fans. Once the property owner is aware of a potential hazard, he usually has the duty to correct it or inform invitees and licensees of these dangerous conditions.

Source: NBC Sports, "Fans sue NFL, 49ers over injuries from beating, shooting," Mike Florio, Aug. 24, 2012

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