Posted by Sansone / Lauber Trial Lawyers on March 15, 2011SHARE IT
Recently I came across an article about a St Louis Missouri wrongful death lawsuit arising from an incident where a Starbucks customer chased a tip jar thief out of the store and ended up being killed after suffering a head injury when the thief attempted to flee in his car. See Starbucks Tip Jar Lawsuit
I read the comments below the article and was a little disturbed by the comments. As a preface, I know nothing about this lawsuit other then the above article and I am not familiar with the lawyer who filed it. It disturbs me how fast people comment and claim frivolous lawsuits and the need for tort reform because their common sense dictates this is a ridiculous case. I have personally handled negligent security cases, in fact one I am handling resulted in a brutal rape of a tenant at an apartment building. See St Louis negligent security claim after sexual assault. In that case the apartment complex knew their security doors were faulty and in disrepair, and because of the faulty security doors and hollow core inner doors, a rapist was able to practically walk right into a young woman’s apartment and brutally rape her. This occurred in a high crime area where the owners were aware of the multiple assaults over the past years, yet allowed the disrepair.
The injury attorney that filed this St Louis death case has a tough battle, and I predict that the trial Judge will dismiss the case, I believe the facts of this case, at least as I understand them, are too flimsy, Starbucks did not take on a duty to provide that extent of security and I believe the trial Judge will find no duty existed thus no breach of a duty and therefore no negligence.
So tort reformers relax, we have Judges and we have laws, just because a lawsuit is filed does not mean everyone is going to get sued for everything. The main political party behind tort reform also preaches about getting back to the fundamental roots of the constitution, well what about the 7th amendment? Right to a Trial by jury? The people behind “Tort Reform” want to take that away.
The jury system is “tort reform”, juries (you and me) will be the deciders on the case, assuming it is not thrown out by the judge prior to getting there. Missouri Personal injury lawyers front massive costs and get no up front fees, if they file a “frivolous” case they will likely eventually lose and be out lots of money, do this a few times and the lawyer is out of business.
So, rather than scream tort reform and frivolous lawsuit, let the system work, if it is such a legally merit-less case the Judge will throw it out on legal grounds, if not, and it is such a factually merit-less claim the jury will rule for Starbucks.
Lastly, to the people that think the above case will lead to little old ladies getting sued for allowing their purses to get stolen, relax, it is legally impossible as an individual does not have the legal duty to provide security from criminal acts of a 3rd party.