ILNews

No duty owed to attacked restaurant patron, judges rule

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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An Indianapolis fast-food restaurant didn't owe a patron the duty of protecting him from attack just because it had placed a table on the sidewalk outside, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

A three-judge panel issued a decision David Schlotman v. Taza Café, d/b/a Gyro Joint , 49A05-0608-CV-475. The judges heard arguments in the Marion County case May 22.

This case addressed whether the carryout restaurant Gyro Joint had a common-law duty to protect patron Scholtman, who was harassed and hit in the face with a whisky bottle while eating at an outdoor table about 11 p.m. on a Saturday night. He asserted that duty was breached in light of multiple criminal complaints against the establishment, while the eatery argued it did not have a duty and the injuries weren't foreseeable.

The appellate judges agreed with the restaurant, holding that the attack was not "reasonably foreseeable under the totality of the circumstances" and the owner didn't owe a duty by placing the table on the sidewalk because no negligence was involved.
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