Family of Shooting Victims Sues Restaurant
The family of three victims of a horrible shooting that took place in Ohio last year have, this month, filed a lawsuit against Cracker Barrel, where the shooting took place.
The victims were a mother and her two young children, who were confronted by the woman’s ex-husband in the restaurant. The man, who had a documented, violent past, left the restaurant after the initial confrontation and paced about the restaurant parking lot, only to return shortly thereafter with a gun, which he began firing, killing the three innocent victims. These victims visited Cracker Barrel in the hopes of enjoying a pleasant meal; they never intended on staring down the barrel of a gun in what would be their final moments.
Most of the cases that we handle here at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg revolve around incidents of negligence rather than criminality. Car accidents, slip and falls, etc., these are all types of incidents in which people can get hurt – and even die – even though no criminal act took place. For instance, a person who negligently smacks into the back of your car with theirs is negligent, but not criminal (with regard to that incident, at least). They can be sued in civil court by the victim, who has a right to collect compensation for damages, but they won’t be charged by state prosecutors and face jail time unless there are other extenuating circumstances (such as if the driver was drunk, etc.).
In this instance, the act was criminal, but it never went to trial because the gunman was shot and killed, at the scene, by responding officers. However, as noted above, this story is not over. A new lawsuit filed by the family of the victims is claiming that Cracker Barrel should pay more than $125,000 in damages to the estate of the woman who was fatally shot while with her two young children. Even if the gunman was still alive, and prosecutors charged him, the family of the victims could still initiate this civil lawsuit.
In other words, you can file a lawsuit against someone even when the incident was not a criminal one (like a car accident), and you can file a lawsuit against someone even when the incident was a criminal one (like this fatal shooting), assuming there are damages in the case.
The attorneys representing the estate of the woman are claiming, according to this AP report, that the restaurant had and has a responsibility to take measures to protect its customers, from “known and foreseeable third-party criminal acts on its premises.” The lawsuit contends that the restaurant improperly trained employees on how to handle volatile situations, and as a result, the restaurant played at least a contributing role in the tragedy that played-out last April in Ohio.
Watching a criminal charged and tried in court can be a source of closure for victims; in this case, the victims were taken by the criminal, who was then neutralized by police. The estate of the victim lives on, however, and as the law tells us, other parties than solely the gun-wielder can be held liable for horrible shooting incidents, just like a bartender who continues to serve alcohol to a drunk man can be held liable if the drunk man then gets behind the wheel of a car and crashes.
If you have been injured by or lost a loved one to the negligence of another, in any public place, please contact us for a free consultation. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg are skilled at interpreting the law and evaluating incidents in efforts to get you what you deserve. Call us at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you.