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Could you sue a "no carry" business for injury?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by epijunkie67, Aug 15, 2005.

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  1. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Member

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    I was wondering something (yeah, I know. I do that a lot). I have a CCW and carry pretty much all the time. But of course there are places I go that have the NO FIREARMS signs on the doors, like hospitals or stores. I also happen to work in a hospital in the ER and they have a big no guns sign right on the door I come in to work every day.

    So if I leave my weapon in the car like a good lawful drone and some nutjob comes in and uses deadly force and I get hurt but not killed, could I sue them for depriving me of my ability to defend myself? Could other people who were hurt sue them for depriving me of my ability to defend them?

    I know if it is a store they could argue I entered voluntarily but I don't have a choice at my workplace. But even at the store I wonder if you could make a case for them increasing my personal risk by making it a defense free zone.

    Thoughts on this line of thinking?
     
  2. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    Why don't you have the same choice at both the store and the workplace? Is someone forcing you to work against your will? If so, let me know, and I'll come bust you out.
     
  3. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

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    You probably would do better if you filed a suit for their failure to provide adequate security for employees.

    Kevin
     
  4. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    IANAL, but it seems you would have to demonstrate some kind of willful negligence on their part. You would have to show that they knew their restriction imposed a risk on you, and they failed to take reasonable steps to alleviate that risk. Their defense, of course, will be that the restriction was imposed in the interest of safety; they maintain video surveillance and security personnel on site; they could not have reasonably known that you would be injured; it was a random and unforeseeable act by a third party for whom they are not responsible.
     
  5. wdlsguy

    wdlsguy Member

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    Why are you patronizing stores that deny you the right to carry?
     
  6. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

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    You can sue anybody for anything. The question is, could you win? Or could you at lease survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

    Your position might be better if you were a customer, rather than an employee. Especially if you as a customer were in a place that was discretionarliy posted (not required by law, such as a bar or school) and if you had signed an employee hand book that included the rule.

    In any event, you would have to prove "causation." That is that the posting had attracted the attacker or that "but for" your not being armed you were injured. Either would be hard to prove (but possible). It would be up to the jury (made up of local residents who did not otherwise avoid jury duty).
     
  7. Control Group

    Control Group Member

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    It would all come down to reasonability. Did the hospital/store/whatever do everything a reasonable person would do to protect your safety? If yes, no dice on the lawsuit. If no, you just won the lottery. Of course, the only way to find out is to have it happen and go before a jury. You (or rather, your high-priced lawyers...you were planning on using high-priced lawyers, right?) need to argue that depriving you of your licensed and legal right to carry a firearm was an unreasonable risk to your safety and that, if you had been carrying, you would not have been harmed. Alternatively, you could argue that the organization, by preventing citizens from carrying inside, deliberately made itself a more desirable target, and that the BG would never have entered if he believe people to be armed inside. Not being a lawyer myself, I don't know which would be more likely to succeed.

    What it will come down to, of course, is, first, whether it goes before a judge who wasn't hoplophobic enough to dismiss the case out of hand, and second, whether the jury is made up of people who see being armed as "reasonable" security. Both of which depend entirely on where this is all, hypothetically, happening.
     
  8. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    Whether or not you CAN (and Henry Bowman said it best already), I don't believe you should be able to sue as a customer. Private property means just that. I do believe that you should be able to collect damages for failure to provide for your safety, however.

    By the same token, I believe that you should be able to collect from a governmental entity (i.e., city, state, etc.) that prevents you from carrying in a public place, on the same grounds. I know, I know... "good luck with that."
     
  9. 45lvr

    45lvr Member

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    ahahahhahahhaahahahahahahahah. not to be mean but, thats one reason i love being a cop. i ignore all those suggestions. we have some part time guys who work part time just to have the "carry permit" and to work some side jobs. maybe you could do that in your area?
     
  10. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Member

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    I'll try to take the high road here and only point out that this is one of the reasons a lot of people stay pissed off at cops. They get to live by a another set of standards that regular people would go to jail for following. Not always mind you, but frequently enough to tick people off.

    And spare me the "I'm still a cop when I'm off duty" speech. It's the ;
    attitude that gets people inflamed.

    That little OT tangent aside, finding a way to carry in restricted areas wasn't the point. I was just wondering if a business could be held liable for damage on its property if they functionally prevented people from defending themselves.

    My hospital, for example, only has security until 3am yet the ER stays open 24/7. We are sometimes forced to treat pissed off prisoners from the local jail, or commit suicidal or homicidal patients to the local psych facilities. Say one of these people walks in at 4am and starts shooting. The only way in or out of my ER is down a single hallway that connects to the waiting room. One man with a gun would turn that hallway into death alley.

    I just wondered if survivers would have legal recourse against the hospital since the idea of an angery ex-patient returning is forseeable and denying me the right to carry my legally concealed weapon increases the risk for myself and everyone else in the ER.
     
  11. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Last year's concealed carry bill for Wisconsin had a clause that relieved business owners from any liability resulting from someone carrying in the workplace.

    As it was explained to me by a senate staffer, liability works both ways, and thus a business could be sued if something happened and an employee had been denied the ability to carry and defend himself.
     
  12. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Makes perfect sense to me.
     
  13. Greg L

    Greg L Member

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    :scrutiny:

    And people wonder why there is an "us vs them" split (from both sides).

    :banghead:
     
  14. Lemon328i

    Lemon328i Member

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    Yes, you have the absolute legal right to bring a suit should you be injured due to the restriction on your right to defend yourself. It has nothing to do with whether the business "took reasonable or prudent measures" for your security.

    Unlike governments (and their agents i.e. law enforcement) which are protected by court decisions such as Warren v. District of Columbia, businesses are liable for failure to protect you individually if they deny you the right to protect yourself. If you are working or shopping in a store and are assaulted, even if there are armed guards on the premises, de facto the store has failed to take reasonable and prudent measures for your individual safety. When they deny youthe right to self-defence on their premises, they take on the responsibility for your individual safety. They must protect you with a 100% record, which is of course impossible. The safer route for a business is to not take a stand at all and post signs that they are not responsible for your safety, this way they do not incur the liability. You'll never see the Brady Center's lawyers argue for that though!
     
  15. 45lvr

    45lvr Member

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    sorry guys, didnt mean to piss everyone off. i just love my job and the perks that come with it are great to those of us that back the 2nd all the way. all jobs come with entitlements, benefits...whatever. its great being able to carry in places that are restrictive. the "us against them" only applies to law abiding/law breakers in our view. that is our job. overgrown hallway monitors? perhaps. just remember: if i cant stand your freaking guts ill still put mine on the line to help you. as far as being able to sue, go for it if god forbid something bad were to happen. the nra has gone after some companies with strict anti gun policies. if you cant find any other way and if you were interested, a part time position at a pd or sheriff department may be the ticket.
     
  16. Farnham

    Farnham Member

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    Remember that when I'm reading your email, spitting in your Big Mac, towing your car, spilling your trash can, denying your insurance claim, mowing your rosebushes, or forgetting to put enough oil back in the engine, officer. :scrutiny:

    As for the main point of the thread, I am not a lawyer, so have nothing further to add, I apologize for editorializing in advance. ;)

    S/F

    Farnham

    PS: After posting this, I realized I may sound a little harsh. I don't work at McDonalds or mow lawns, but 45lvr, please remember we are all on the same side. I don't use the above stated benefits to screw with you, I'd appreciate it if you didn't screw with me. Savvy?
     
  17. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    Well the problem with the suit is that the obvious counter argument is this; If you take your defense so seriously, why did you choose to enter an establishment that prohibited carry?

    Of course the easiest solution is just to carry anyways. Seriously, even if you could win (and i doubt that you would) is that going to really make you forget the fact that your a parapelegic? It doesnt matter to me one bit if i could win a suit or not, im not going to place myself in a position to find out. I think that is a perfectly rational approach to the problem (and if your jury agrees, then you will lose the case anyhow).

    Im not sure about the rules of your states, but in Washington those signs are unenforceable. The sign conveys the wishes of the property owner, but disregarding them is not a crime. The most that could happen is that the property owner, or a representative thereof will ask you to leave if they notice that you are carrying, that request is legally enforceable. Of course, concealed is concealed ;)
     
  18. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    While you can sue, you won't win. Your rights to carry a gun, however they are granted where you are, do NOT supercede the rights of the business to control whatever goes on on the property.

    Contrary to the poorly formulated argument made by a lot of gun folks, not being allowed to have a gun is NOT the same thing as not being allowed to defend oneself. You most certainly still have the right to defend yourself, you just don't have the right to have a gun on the property. A lot of pro gun folks think that carrying a gun is the only definition of being able to defend oneself and that is not the case and hasn't materialized as such in court as far as I know.

    Even if you sue and it does go to court, how will you prove that having a gun would have actually precluded your injuries? There are countless accounts of armed good guys getting hurt by bad guys, so having a gun does not provide a default that you will necessarily be unharmed.

    Once again, the bottom line is that your rights to carry do not supercede the rights of the property owner/business. If you choose to leave your gun in the car and enter the business and end up getting injured by a bad guy, then you need to sue the moron who voluntarily left your gun in your car.

    I get a lot of amusement out of hearing and reading about people who claim to be so darned well prepared and who are in a constant state of total situational awareness and who carry 24/7. Then you hear that they feel defenseless without a gun. If a gun is your only venue for self defense, then you aren't much better than the average sheeple and just a naive.
     
  19. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

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    DNS - While what you say is true, you must keep in mind that actions have consequences.
    Contrary to what many blather, it is not illegal to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. However, if you do -- and there's no fire -- then you are responsible for the consequences. Property owners are free to prohibit whatever they wish on their property, but if what they do causes someone else harm, they are responsible.

    The difficulty is in proving causation. Many of the lawsuits brought today in which people recover large sums awarded by juries or at least as significant settlements, would have laughed out of court 60, 50, or in some cases as little as 20, years ago. The notion of strict liability (still abhorent to me) was unknown a century ago. Public perception changes, and the public is the sole source of jurors. Often it is a matter of the individual jurors being able to put him-/herself in the plaintiff's position and ask who they would blame. If you had a jury pool of "toters," you could win. Not because of a prejudice on their part, but because of them being able to relate to the plaintiff's point of view as to whom to blame (who/what was the cause).

    Today, the causation is difficult, maybe even impossible, to prove. Tomorrow it will have become either easier or even more difficult, depending on public perception.


    In Ohio it is a crime.
     
  20. rhubarb

    rhubarb Member

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    I could kinda see where a fervent supporter of the Second Amendment would consider winning a lawsuit in a case like this would be beneficial to convincing businesses that they may be putting themselves at financial risk by prohibiting firearms. But, really, come on.

    If a bad guy comes into the hospital and shoots you it's his fault. Not the hospital's fault. Not society's fault. Not the fault of poor upbringing or a bad meal he ate that day. If a man makes a decision to commit a crime you would sue somebody else? That's wrong.
     
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