A state appeal court has reversed itself, ruling that a Bossier City, La., taxi cab company owner can be held personally responsible for the death of a 12-year-old Stonewall boy allegedly killed by a cab driver.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled 3-2 that there is a legitimate legal question of whether Action Taxi owner David McFarlin can be held liable for hiring a driver whose license showed he was a sex offender, The Times reported. The driver is accused of posing in text messages as a girl to lure Justin Bloxom into his cab, then killing him.
During a second hearing on the question, McFarlin’s attorney argued that the circumstances “could not be reasonably foreseen or anticipated.”
But the court disagreed. “In fact, placing a known sex offender in a taxi cab, with unfettered access and control over his passengers who assume they are in a position of safety is akin to placing the proverbial fox in the hen house. The purpose behind the sex offender registration law is to protect the public from repeat offenses,” Judge Larry Lolley, of Monroe, wrote for the majority.
The decision sends the case back to DeSoto District Court Robert Burgess, who had dismissed McFarlin from a lawsuit filed by Justin’s mother. No court date has been set because an appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court is expected.
Justin Bloxom’s body was found March 30, 2010 in woods off U.S. Highway 171 near Stonewall after he had been reported missing from a friend’s house. Brian Horn, 35, of Keachi, is awaiting trial on a charge of capital murder.