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Supreme Court of Louisiana
November 30, 1999, Decided
Pg 1 [*764] [Pg 1]
MARCUS, Justice 2
Shirley Posecai brought suit against Sam's Wholesale Club ("Sam's") in Kenner after she was robbed at gunpoint in the store's parking lot. On July 20, 1995, Mrs. Posecai went to Sam's to make an exchange and to do some shopping. She exited the store and returned to her parked car at approximately 7:20 p.m. It was not dark at the time. As Mrs. Posecai was placing her purchases in the trunk, a man who was hiding under her car grabbed her ankle and pointed [**2] a gun at her. The unknown assailant instructed her to hand over her jewelry and her wallet. While begging the robber to spare her life, she gave him her purse and all her jewelry. Mrs. Posecai was wearing her most valuable jewelry at the time of the robbery because she had attended a downtown luncheon earlier in the day. She lost a two and a half carat diamond ring given to her by her husband for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, a diamond and ruby bracelet and a diamond and gold watch, all valued at close to $ 19,000.
When the robber released Mrs. Posecai, she ran back to the store for help. The Kenner Police Department was called and two officers came out to investigate the incident. The perpetrator was never apprehended and Mrs. Posecai never recovered her jewelry [Pg 2] despite searching several pawn shops.
At the time of this armed robbery, a security guard was stationed inside the store to protect the cash office from 5:00 p.m. until the store closed at 8:00 p.m. He could not see outside and Sam's did not have security guards patrolling the parking lot. At trial, the security guard on duty, Kenner Police Officer Emile Sanchez, testified that he had worked security detail at [**3] Sam's since 1986 and was not aware of any similar criminal incidents occurring in Sam's parking lot during the nine years prior to the robbery of Mrs. Posecai. He further testified that he did not consider Sam's parking lot to be a high crime area, but admitted that he had not conducted a study on the issue.
The plaintiff presented the testimony of two other Kenner police officers. Officer Russell Moran testified that he had patrolled the area around Sam's from 1993 to 1995. He stated that the subdivision behind Sam's, Lincoln Manor, is generally known as a high crime area, but that the Kenner Police were rarely called out to Sam's. Officer George Ansardi, the investigating officer, similarly testified that Lincoln Manor is a high crime area but explained that Sam's is not considered a high crime location. He further stated that to his knowledge none of the other businesses in the area employed security guards at the time of this robbery.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
752 So. 2d 762 *; 1999 La. LEXIS 3243 **; 99-1222 (La. 11/30/99);
SHIRLEY POSECAI Versus WAL-MART STORES D/B/A SAM'S WHOLESALE CLUB AND JOE DOE
Subsequent History: [**1] Released for Publication December 15, 1999.
Prior History: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEAL, FIFTH CIRCUIT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON.
Disposition: Judgment reversed; judgment rendered in favor of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. d/b/a Sam's Wholesale Club and against Shirley Posecai, dismissing plaintiff's suit at her cost.
foreseeability, parking lot, premises, business owner, customers, robbery, criminal act, totality of the circumstances, balancing test, security guard, offenses, invitee, high crime area, circumstances, patrons, courts, prior similar incidents, duty to provide, third person, third party, perpetrated, measures, merchant, factors, gravity, jewelry
Torts, Affirmative Duty to Act, Types of Special Relationships, General Overview, General Premises Liability, Activities & Conditions, Criminal Activity, Criminal Law & Procedure, Trials, Judicial Discretion, Elements, Duty, Foreseeability of Harm