Business owners, particularly restaurants and bars, have a duty to protect their customers and other people against harm from other patrons. In one case, the family of a homicide victim outside a bar filed a personal injury lawsuit against that establishment for failing to meet this legal responsibility.
According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the purported operator of a Galesburg bar bartending on April 1, 2018. The suit claims that she knew that a patron had a firearm and saw him throw a bar stool at another customer but did not call the police.
The customer then went to a city parking lot behind the bar. He shot and killed the victim.
The shooter was ultimately convicted for the shooting earlier this year. He was sentenced to a 75-year prison sentence. The bar closed two days after the victim's death.
The administrator of the deceased woman's estate filed the wrongful death suit against owners of the tavern and its operator earlier this year. He also filed the action as guardian of the victim's two children and was joined by the woman's parents.
The plaintiffs claimed that the tavern did not provide adequate security to prevent injuries to other customers. Specifically, contacting the police about the fight inside and outside the bar would have prevented the shooting, according to the plaintiffs' attorney.
According to one of the defense attorneys, Illinois law extends a business' duty to protect invitees only to its legal boundaries and this no longer applied when the customer left that bar and was on a city parking lot. But the plaintiffs' attorney charged that the bar is legally liable because the shooter fired his weapon in the direction of people who were at the bar earlier and involved in the earlier fight.
A hearing on dismissal was held earlier this month. At issue was allegations that the bar operated at the time of the shooting was sold to another even though the holder of its liquor license died two months earlier and the business was sold to other owners.
A wrongful death lawsuit may involve complicated issues. An attorney can help overcome these matters and pursue the right to damages.