Lawsuit Filed After Clerk Shot In Convenience Store With Slot Machine
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a convenience store that allowed customers access to a slot machine, according to a recent lawsuit. The clerk was shot by a customer who was a known drug dealer and gambling enthusiast. The lawsuit blames the convenience store and the game for the clerk’s death. The plaintiffs allege that the convenience store operated a “mini-casino” without any of the security measures necessary to ensure the public’s safety.
Just one problem: How do you connect a slot machine to the murder of a casino clerk and who among the named defendants would be responsible for such a crime? Our American way of thinking about the world would pin the responsibility completely on the shooter. But a question arises: Did the convenience store create an unreasonably dangerous environment by allowing gambling on their premises? If they did allow gambling on their premises, should they have hired security to protect their employees? These two factors will go into a jury’s decision as to whether or not the defendants are responsible for this death.
The convenience store
Historically, mini-casinos like this are believed to be associated with violent crime. Attorneys will provide statistics and anecdotal evidence to establish that these machines draw unsavory types that do crimes as a result of consistent losing. Part of the problem is that the machines themselves don’t dispense money, but credits. The stores themselves have to have the cash on-hand to make payments to customers. That means that criminals know that such stores have a sizable amount of cash on hand. That makes them targets. Typically, convenience stores lack the security necessary to deal with armed individuals who wave guns in their faces. In this case, the clerk was shot and killed as a result of placing an illegal gambling device on the premises.
The game manufacturer
The game manufacturer is accused of misclassifying the game as a “skill game” to do an end-around the law. They are also accused of helping to create the environment that led to the clerk’s death.
Such lawsuits are not unique. Another has been filed in Georgia alleging that illegal gaming devices contribute to violent environments and place employees in peril. If gas stations and convenience stores wish to continue to operate these games, they will have to absorb the added overhead of hiring on security.
Chances are good with the historical argument that the convenience stores are partly liable for increasing violent crime in populated areas. The only question that remains then is: Do they have a duty of care? The answer will come down to the courts.
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