$65M Lawsuit Blames BJ’s Wholesale Club in Virginia Slaying

April 25, 2008

  • April 25, 2008 at 12:12 pm
    surprised says:
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    An employee with an angry and potentially violent ex-spouse lurking around….at least she did not lose her job over this guy’s creepy actions.

  • April 25, 2008 at 12:29 pm
    Nebraskan says:
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    This is just pathetic….why doesn’t she sue her dead sister for letting her get involved with such a dangerous guy? Why not sue her family in general for not helping her learn how to make better decisions about whom she surrounds herself with. Heck, why not sue the ex-spouse’s parents for raising such a violent person.

  • April 25, 2008 at 2:24 am
    Dread says:
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    This is the kind of thing that makes me sick. Retail establishments have no duty to provide personal protection against every piece of human garbage that crawls the streets. If anyone should have known of the threat level, it’s the plaintiff herself. She could have found another job that afforded more security. No degreee of security could have protected against the assault on the sister, and no reasonable methods could have prevented the plaintiff from getting shot either. The only mistake that was made here was by the police taking the husband alive. Now he’ll become the taxpayers burden.

    But,since it’s all about money and ex-husband has no assets, go after the deep pockets. I only hope B.J.’s doesn’t cave in and pay this woman anything.

  • April 25, 2008 at 2:39 am
    Mongoose says:
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    Come on, leet’s be fair, how can you sue someone that doesn’t much assets and their homeowners would just deny.

    What atatorney would take that case. At least this way you some a slight chance of getting some what I call Shut up and go away money.

    What a great world we live in.

    Here’s a final idea, we should all sue I.J. for print such violent stories that gives us nightmares, scares us to no end so we just can’t go to work and must go on disability. I’m sure we could find an attorney some where to handle the case.

  • April 25, 2008 at 2:39 am
    Change of Venue says:
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    If it was the local stop-n-rob where they were shot, I’d bet the suit would include them. I must have missed the comment about it not being about the money in the article.

  • April 25, 2008 at 2:42 am
    Been there says:
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    There is a fairly recent Virginia Supreme Court ruling that consolidated two similar cases that supports BJ’s position.
    Let’s hope they stick to their position and don’t cave. Enough of this bull.

  • April 25, 2008 at 2:44 am
    Ed says:
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    If I were B.J.’s, I wait until the suit gets tossed, then I’d fire her greed ***. I’m convince people like this file lawsuits not just to make the money they lack the talent to earn, but to try and exhonerate themselves for being stupid. Her first mistake was using poor judgment by marrying a lunatic. Her second mistake was getting her sister involved and exposing her to injury. Her third mistake was not carrying her own gun.

  • April 25, 2008 at 2:50 am
    common sense says:
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    If BJ did not about the situation, I think the employee should be put on unpaid leave until she or he works out their personal problems. Why danger the other employees because of a family dispute. I would hope the company I work for would do this for me. I want protection at my employment so people like this

  • April 25, 2008 at 2:58 am
    bob says:
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    gee, where are the warm and fuzzy liberals who want to defend the merits of this frivously lawsuit? is everybody out there logical today? looks like it!

  • April 25, 2008 at 3:29 am
    KOB says:
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    My understanding is that a premises owner has no duty to protect its invitees from the unforseable and random acts of unknown third parties. If the Claimant was an innocent, non-party to the conflict between the ex-spuses, and BJ’s received a threat that the perp. was coming down to shoot everyone, then I would say that it would be possible that a jury finds BJ’s at least contributorily liable, if they did not at least warn its’ employees and call the cops to investigate the threats. Another critical question would be how much “protection” can an employer offer to its employees, especially in stores/places that is openly accessed by the public. I wonder if the Claimant received the threats directly. If so, did she notify management? Did she notify her sister? Did she call the cops if she felt the threats were real? If she didn’t, why would she expect her employer to exercise a higher degree of “look-out” and protection?
    I once heard of a case out of NY, in which a McDonald’s patron was shot by a robber. the Claimant’s argument was that the robber would not have carried a gun, if Mcdonald’s did not have an armed security guard in this inner-city location. In other words, the robber knew he had to bring fire-power to make it a successful robbery. If I am not mistaken, a jury bought the allegations and awarded the claimant. I know I digress, but just goes to show you that the defenses to liability are so riddled, that any “B-school” attorney can take a shot at winning the big one.

  • April 25, 2008 at 3:37 am
    nancy says:
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    Agreed Dread, you are right on (as always). Just another bogus lawsuit seeking money via the lawsuit lottery to be unjusted enriched. You want money honey? Get a fracking job and work. Hope this frivilous lawsuit is thrown out of the Courts and this glory ***** is stuck with Court and defense costs.

  • April 25, 2008 at 4:32 am
    clm mgr says:
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    I’ll bet BJ’s has already paid plenty for the medical bills incurred by this employee arising from being shot by her Husband. She’s asking the Court to impose a larger duty on BJ’s to know the dangerous propensities of her husband when she herself should have had at least an inkling of the danger she faced from him. It isn’t like she was an innocent member of the public randomly shot by a crazed gunman on the store premises. This perp was her husband for crying out loud. I predict this case will not go very far in the Courts.

  • April 25, 2008 at 5:49 am
    Baxtor says:
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    that were the jury in the McDonald’s coffee case. I think as American citizens we should be able to personally sue the judges that allow these things to go to trial. What idiot would allow such a trial? Now BJ’s (insurance company) has to pay defense cost. That’s why only in America you’ll see lawyers that can’t make it in the real world become trial judges.

  • April 26, 2008 at 8:03 am
    Curious says:
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    If you’re going to criticize the legal system, you should learn something about it. There are very few circumstances in which a judge can just “throw out” a case; judges don’t get to decide that a lawsuit is a bad idea and dismiss. (Would you really support giving any government official this much power?) Also, you should take a look at the facts in the McDonald’s coffee case. This is one that’s perpetually referred to by ignorant know-nothings as an example of something that it’s not. The woman whose coffee spilled had to have skin grafts and two years of treatment to repair the damage. She had more than $10,000 in medical bills, and McDonald’s offered her $800; that’s why it went to trial — because McDonald’s counted on having morons like you on the jury. Oops.

  • April 26, 2008 at 9:15 am
    wudchuck says:
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    um…
    1) you bring up the mcdonalds suit but u did not look at the details the person was talking about…first of all, the case you are talking about, they should have never paid – why? because, have you ever made coffee cold? what caused it to spill? did i stop quickly? did i drop it while sitting it between my legs? most cars have cup holders. stupidity is the answer to this and mcdonald should have never paid for this. secondly, the case mr was implying was the burglary. as in any burgarly case, most brandish some kind of weapon, just not neccessarily a gun. any inner-city or even outer-city can say the same argument – but that is a false sense of security. just because there is an armed guard does not mean it’s not going to happen. does that mean that every store with a cash register, we need to have an armed guard? do you know that it costs to have those folks? which means the price of your goods is going to go up. which means that the perpetrator might get a harder means of getting that cash because now he knows there will be an armed guard. our society is so spooked and think that just because something happened to us, that the blame belongs to someone else. true to a point, but that blame should be on the person who committed the crime.

    now, let’s look at this case. first of all, if you read that on two (2) occassions they removed him from the premises. knowing his behavior, why did she not have a protection order against him? this would have included her working environment. again, if we are planning to protect the employees, does that mean we have to protect our customers? NO, in both cases. here again, comes back to the issue, who’s to blame? not the store where she worked nor her, but the estranged spouse. granted she will have medical bills, but those bills should be sent to the spouse for payment and not her or the employer. yes, this is a tragedy, but even still, we need to think about the whole picture. let’s get away from trying to be a money hungry. afterall, $65 mil is a lot of money and that will not heal any wounds you have suffered emotionally or physically. still, that does not become your employer’s responsibility to pay for. if any gunman entered the place, would have you sued? NO! back to the issue, if she had the protection order in place after the first time or even after the sister was killed, then after the first time of entering her work place, he should have been arrested.

  • April 28, 2008 at 9:30 am
    Dread says:
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    YOU are a prime example of what’s wrong with our country and legal system. You focus on the poor old lady who scalded her thighs and the medical treatement she had. You would have awarded her damages. Her injuries were the RESULT not the CAUSE of the problem she created. She was stupid and careless. That’s inexcusible for someone that mature. Even the village idiot knows not to take a PAPER cup of steaming hot coffee and place it between your legs. This women deserved no money for her stupidity. The cup was not defective, and had she taken proper precautions the incident never would have happened. The only thing she deserved was a slap upside the head for being an idiot.

  • April 28, 2008 at 10:42 am
    AZInsMan says:
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    Curious,

    YOu whining liberal. Same old re-distribution of wealth attitude that makes it virtually impossible to do business with idiots like you defending the ridiculous Mcdonalds jury award. This is why they have to tell you liberal idiots NOT to insert your penis into a new blender. It could cause harm…

  • April 28, 2008 at 11:15 am
    lastbat says:
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    The damages caused by the coffee in the McDonald’s case in no way reflect any cupability of the corporation. The plaintiff was lucky in drawing a sympathetic jury who awarded her for her own stupidity.

    As for judges being able to toss suits – they can and do toss suits that have no merit. Unfortunately the American tort system is wide open for ridiculous suits and there is currently no precedent on which to toss these suits.

    I hope BJ’s wins.

  • April 28, 2008 at 11:29 am
    Alex says:
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    Let’s go to a “pay to play” system where the loser pays the winner’s legal costs. Of course the plaintiff attorney bar will squeal like stuck pigs saying that persons who can’t pay an attorney are deprived of their legal rights. Ergo the contingency fee basis. What a great system. The attorneys have nothing to lose and everything to gain. They get either zero or between 33 – 50% depending on whether they file suit. It seems that if they’re willing to roll the dice and cause others to incur costs, they should have some “skin in the game” to reimburse those costs when they lose.

  • April 28, 2008 at 2:21 am
    Dustin says:
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    First off, I don’t think that BJ’s is liable. Now to everyone else name calling and accusing liberals of being uneducated money grubbers. For the record I am a GDI!

    Facts from the McDonald’s case:

    “Liebeck’s grandson was driving. She was not.

    Liebeck placed
    the cup between her knees and attempted to remove the plastic lid from
    the cup. As she removed the lid, the entire contents of the cup spilled
    into her lap.

    She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she
    underwent skin grafting. Liebeck, who also underwent debridement
    treatments, sought to settle her claim for $20,000, but McDonalds
    refused.

    During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700
    claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims
    involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This
    history documented McDonalds’ knowledge about the extent and nature of
    this hazard.

    McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants
    advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to
    maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the
    safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell
    coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is
    generally 135 to 140 degrees.

    The jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages. This amount
    was reduced to $160,000 because the jury found Liebeck 20 percent at
    fault in the spill. The jury also awarded Liebeck $2.7 million in
    punitive damages, which equals about two days of McDonalds’ coffee
    sales.”

    She didn’t try to “money-grub.” McDonalds knew their coffee was too hot (not oops that hurt, but you just cinged my nerve endings, blistering, pussball 3rd degree burns!) Yes, coffee should be hot, but not like liquid hot magma that will give you 3rd degree burns. There are certainly some things wrong with the legal system (ok, a lot!) but this case is not my example of one. Carry on. And feel free to call me an ignorant money grubbing so and so. Or even a liberal, though both are untrue!

  • April 28, 2008 at 2:55 am
    Where Does It End says:
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    So acording to your theory Dustin, now companies should have to label knives as “not real sharp” and “real sharp” and “sharp as hell” or maybe “not as sharp as our competitors” etc. etc.

    Or how about gun manufacturers: just a little bitty hole, big hole, and “this will knock the suckers off their feet”.

    And if the BJ employee is successful, I think her fellow employees should sue her for emotional distress. After all she knew the guy was crazy and hanging out at the store so she should have left. No, on second thought, then there’d be a whole new set of legal fees to hand out.

    We won’t solve things until the juries stand up to the courts and say, “We are the law today in this case” and give the bad ones the boot.

  • April 28, 2008 at 3:05 am
    Dustin says:
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    I was not agreeing in whole with the McDonald’s case, but merely showing that those who talk about it don’t necessarily know the whole situation. Someone told Curious that “you liberals are all the same by talking about things not knowing all the facts.” The irony there was the accuser did not seem to know the case either.

    I believe that the ability to cut things or blow holes through things are inherent in the nature of knives and guns, although the degree to which they are sharp, etc. can vary. It is reasonable to assume that a knife or gun can hurt you right out of the box.

    In this case, McDonald’s knew that the coffee was too hot as others had 3rd degree burns. To me, they were on notice. They also knew that people buy coffee to DRINK IT! While I think the woman was an idiot for placing the coffee in her lap, I think McDonalds was partially liable for having coffee that could cause 3rd degree burns. Just my 2 cents, though I am sure others will take issue with it.

  • April 28, 2008 at 3:23 am
    Bad Boy says:
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    Where is this place? I have been paying retail for mine!

  • April 28, 2008 at 3:39 am
    wudchuck says:
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    i agree to a certain point. but after reading the statement you pointed out – would you not say, that more than 20% is the blame of opening the lid? and then more by placing it between the legs? shucks, anything is going to spill if i have an open lid and driving a vehicle? afterall, we all know that its a hot item to drink. do we sue, because i burnt my mouth on a hot apple pie? this is where we have to stop and draw the line. just because the corporations and businesses appear to have money, does not give you the right to sue because you don’t want to take the blame/responsiblity of your, and i repeat, your actions! we all want the simple life and if we get the money, we don’t have to work anymore. juries, need to stop thinking oh, they have money and surely it must be their fault. not the actual person. good example is that lawsuit about the seatbelt where the kid almost got wrenched by the belt – yet the whole incident happened due to a drunk driver (which she was a passenger in), lost control and wrapped the vehicle around the pole. now, the judge felt that the pole had a contributable factor to the accident — whoa! first of all, if that guy was not drunk they would not have been in that situation. secondly, that seatbelt probably saved her life since that car got wrapped around the pole. lastly, i have never heard of a pole growing legs and jumping into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

    these situations need to end NOW! this is was boggles courts up and takes time to resolve. frivilous lawsuits that need to be sent back to the responsible part and all time wasted by the courts should be passed to the lawyer not the person because he wanted to make a quick buck for himself.

  • April 28, 2008 at 3:54 am
    Dustin says:
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    Acutally, she wasn’t driving. Her grandson parked the car. Again, this is not I burnt my mouth on that, but I had to have surgery and skin grafts.

    What would your opinion be if the person sat down in McDonald’s and the cup spilled while opening the lid. The only difference between the 2 is placing the coffee in the lap. Still 3rd degree burns and everything? I would say there is a difference in the comparative negligence, but I would still say McD is partially to blame for serving magma.

    Again, there is a difference between this coffee is hot (coffee is SUPPOSED to be hot, but still drinkable)and this coffee cinged my nerve endings and now I have to get a skin graft.

  • April 28, 2008 at 4:08 am
    nancy says:
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    The moron here is curious. Couldn’t care less if McDonald’s offer $8, $800, $8,000 or $80,000 to that stupid woman. She NEVER should have put a cup of HOT coffee between her legs. She was a stupid moron for doing so and we shouldn’t reward stupidity be throwing money at them. She cause her own loss, period. End of story.

  • April 29, 2008 at 6:16 am
    O. Dear says:
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    A jury of your peers! Wow, what a world.

    Definition of idiot per answer.com

    A foolish or stupid person.

    A person of profound mental retardation having a mental age below three years and generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common dangers. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive.
    [Middle English, ignorant person, from Old French idiote, from Latin idiōta, from Greek idiōtēs, private person, layman, from idios, own, private.]

    I wish people calling jurors idiots would refrain from the insults. Just because you do not agree with a verdict does not mean the jurors are stupid or foolish.

  • May 2, 2008 at 2:09 am
    Beezer Bear says:
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    While following this case of blog edification, I use that term extremely loosely, I did some research into this criminal case, the evidence & ramifications – post wit and found that the stores management & the assailant had numerous prior relationships over the course of the womans 12 yr. employment with the store … his being an extreme narcissist with borderline (if there is such a thing) psychopathic personality disorder,(when you figure that one out, let me know). Managers witnessed his demeanor enough times towards the assailed and themselves, got involved by having him removed & banned, on her behalf, from the store because of his demeanor & actions, only to allow him to return & repeat the audacity of his intimidations and assaults upon the assailed, never following through with a court order of no trespassing, to wit, gross negligence.

  • May 13, 2008 at 5:28 am
    Henry says:
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    True, in the most general case a property owner is not liable for the actions of a criminal against a third party, but even case law specifies that the specifics of the incident can change this. For example, if the criminal is an employee of the property owner, the burden shifts. In this case, the victim was an employee, and we have to ask whether her employer required her to sign any sort of “safe workplace” pledge promising to surrender her right to carry items for her own self-defense while on the property. If so, it can easily be argued that the employer thereby assumed all responsibility for defending her life.

  • December 23, 2008 at 5:33 am
    Slade McDuffie says:
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    I am not surprize at this! The BJ’s Wholesale Club in my town got into trouble for selling out of date goods like meat and milk. Plus a friend of my was fire from BJ’s for standing up rights when managers tried to give him a hard time. This Company do not give a dam about their associates.



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