Good Samaritans are often lauded when they intervene in potentially perilous situations to help others. But are there grounds to assert negligence for those who fail to intervene in such circumstances?
This is what is being alleged in a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio, where a woman and her two daughters were gunned down by her husband at a Cracker Barrel restaurant after a heated confrontation that ensued when she told him she was leaving him. The family had gone to the restaurant for a birthday dinner with their two 10-year-old girls when the events took a turn. The husband reportedly threatened to, “kill them all,” shouted an expletive while paying for the bill, accidentally dropped several shotgun shells from his pocket. According to the wrongful death lawsuit, filed by the woman’s brother, the girls’ uncle, the mother called a friend and the police and begged the manger to allow her and her daughters to hide in the restaurant’s walk-in cooler. The manager allegedly refused the request, telling her the restaurant doesn’t get involved in domestic disputes.
Her husband returned with a shotgun and killed her and her two daughters, who were hiding in the restroom. Police then shot and killed the gunman. An attorney for plaintiff alleges the woman and her daughters were left to take care of themselves in a dangerous situation. He cited the protocol that many chain restaurants and retail facilities have to deal with violent or active shooter situations, and argued that such incidents, while terrifying, are in fact foreseeable. Continue reading