Anderson, Coe & King


Plaintiffs filed suit against a Pizzeria Uno's in Landover, Maryland, alleging that their employees failed to intervene in an ongoing verbal dispute during the 2008 Super Bowl.  The altercation resulted in three people being shot and killed in the restaurant.  The families of the three men filed suit alleging that Uno's was negligent in providing security.  The shooter, who also was an Uno's customer, eventually was captured, tried, and sentenced to 160 years in prison.

 Robert Bouse tried the civil action over eight days in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County.  After the close of the Plaintiffs' case and at the end of trial, Judge Michael Pearson reserved on the defendant's motions for judgment.  The jury spent eight hours deliberating and returned a verdict for two of the families but not the third on the basis that, as the instigator, he assumed the risk.  The total verdict was $2.3 million.

After trial, Bob filed a motion for judgment N.O.V. on the same bases as their motions for judgment.  After oral argument, Judge Pearson agreed that there was no foresseeability a verbal altercation could escalate into a triple homicide.  Plaintiffs' witnesses and counsel, in fact, had conceded during trial that no one knew the shooter had a gun and further admitted that no employee of Uno's could have foreseen a triple murder.  Plaintiffs argued that if the premises owner has knowledge that a fight is going to happen, the owner is liable for whatever happens, regardless of the degree of the altercation.  The Court disagreed and granted the defendant's motion for judgment N.O.V. and entered a verdict in favor of Uno's.


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