CA Court Eases Crime Victim Suits Vs. Businesses


The California Supreme Court yesterday made it easier for violent crime victims to recover damages from the owners of the businesses where the crimes occurred, reports the Los Angeles Times. Two rulings mark a departure from a recent trend in the law and are likely to have significant ramifications. In one case, gang members assaulted a man outside a 24-hour Mexican restaurant in San Diego County. The man sued, saying that employees watched the attack through a large plate glass window and did nothing. He said they should have called 911. The court agreed, saying that placing a call to 911 was a “minimal safety measure that imposes no undue hardship on a business owner.”

In the other case, a man injured in an assault at a bar won a $81,000 jury verdict. A state appeals court overturned the award, saying the tavern had no duty to protect the customers. The Supreme Court disagreed, saying that it should have taken some “minimally burdensome measures” to prevent the assault.


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