In the case of Goodwin, Randolph, and Washington v. Yeakle’s Sports Bar and Grill, Inc., patrons were injured after a shooting in a neighborhood bar and subsequently would sue the bar for negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment in the bar’s favor. They concluded that the bar did not owe a duty to the patrons because the shooting was not foreseeable as a matter of law. The Court analyzed Indiana law relating to liability for third party criminal acts. Courts have long held that a landowner owes an invitee a duty to take reasonable care to protect the invitee from foreseeable third-party criminal attacks.
The landlord must take reasonable precautions to protect their invitees from foreseeable criminal acts and it is up to the Court to determinate what is foreseeable and what is not foreseeable. Because almost any outcome is possible, the Court must access whether there is some probability or likelihood of harm or injury that is serious enough to induce a reasonable person to take safety precautions to avoid or prevent it. The Court explained that in this case, the harm would be considered the probability or likelihood of a criminal attack, more specifically a shooting inside of a bar. The Court held that although bars can often set the stage for rowdy behavior and may have accidents occur, the Court did not believe that bar owners routinely contemplate that bar patrons might start shooting each other. It held that a shooting inside a neighborhood bar was not foreseeable as a matter of law.
If you or a loved one have been affected by a bar accident or death, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Hurst Limontes, LLC. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. Call 317-636-0808 or email us for a FREE and confidential consultation.