Restaurant found 55 percent responsible, actual attackers 45 percent

Adventures in negligent security: “A Southern California jury awarded $40 million to the parents of a man who was stabbed to death in a TGI Friday’s restaurant. The panel found [last month] that the restaurant’s operator was 55 percent responsible for the January 2009 death at a TGI Friday’s in Riverside.” The attackers, who “pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon” and were sentenced to three and four years in prison respectively, “were found to be 45 percent responsible.” [Orange County Register]


  • They are lucky. In some states, the restaurant owner would not be permitted to shift any blame at all to the perpetrators.

  • Wait, so if I should decide to go to a local diner and stab the patrons, it is somehow more than 0% the diner’s fault for not anticipating this and hiring security? Where exactly is the line? Is 7-11 obliged to hire security? The local bus station?

    • Everyone – other than governmental and quasi-governmental organizations – is required to hire security. Of course, hiring security may turn out to be illegal under local regulations, but that’s no excuse.

      This is OC. If you’re wondering how they merited such a corrupt DA and police force, you need look no farther than the ethics of the population.

  • The test in California is foreseeability of the criminal conduct based on past incidents. Here, there was evidence of a history of assaults and a lack of basic measures such as security cameras. Separate from that, the action was also based on the claim that the defendant served the obviously intoxicated underage perpetrator 12 drinks in a 30 minute period and had a history of serving minors to increase their weekend business.

  • I find it incredible that an “obviously intoxicated” drinker, underage or otherwise, could consume 12 drinks in 30 minutes and then hit anything other than the floor…

  • Note, however, the precise if not lawyerly wording in the Riverside paper’s account: “the equivalent of” 12 servings of alcohol were “ordered,” not consumed. (Pitchers, maybe?) And the perpetrator who seems to have played the greater role in the death — he got the longer sentence of the two, and was initially charged with murder — was 27 years old.

  • I’m curious how they established that the minor ordered the beer, as opposed to the 27 year old then allowing the minor to drink from his order. At a guess (pure speculation), someone at the table ordered two pitchers of beer after two glasses had been served? (each pitcher being the equivalent of five 12 oz glasses of beer, typically). Even so, if the alcohol wasn’t actually consumed, emphasis on the amount ordered would only seem to inflame passions, not be particularly relevant to how drunk someone was.

    I can’t help but feel (again, without any evidence one way or the other) that the restaurant’s liability here as determined by the jury had more to do with the depths of their pockets than their actual culpability in the events.

  • What happens when the civil jury comes to a different conclusion than the criminal trial did? That must have happened here, after all, the attackers went to prison, not the restaurant owners!!