Being sued for giving chase and collateral damage

Being sued for giving chase and collateral damage

This is a discussion on Being sued for giving chase and collateral damage within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This happened last year. If it goes the way of the plaintiff, it may well put the 3 Amigos under. Thoughts on giving chase? Shooting ...

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Thread: Being sued for giving chase and collateral damage

  1. #1
    Member Array socuban's Avatar
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    Being sued for giving chase and collateral damage

    This happened last year. If it goes the way of the plaintiff, it may well put the 3 Amigos under. Thoughts on giving chase?

    Shooting victim's estate seeks damages from West Boynton store owner Bakery owner, 70, was shot during chase of suspects

    By Missy Diaz | South Florida Sun-Sentinel May 8, 2008

    The estate of a 70-year-old man killed in the aftermath of an armed robbery of a grocery store has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the store, its manager and the five men charged in the crime.

    Samuel Salomon and his wife were driving home from buying Hanukkah cards on Nov. 30 when they drove into the path of the alleged robbers, who were being pursued by Sian Kiat Koh, a manager at the Three Amigos grocery store west of Boynton Beach.

    A short time earlier, police said the suspects Roger Rodriguez, Victor Diaz, Luis Reyes, George Dotal and Nelson Urbina had forced customers to the ground at the West Boynton Beach Boulevard store with a handgun and an Uzi before speeding off in a rented Dodge Charger with more than $42,000.

    Koh jumped in his Mercedes and followed the Charger onto Florida's Turnpike while calling 911.

    Once the suspects realized they were being followed, they pulled off at Atlantic Avenue, made a U-turn and fired, hitting Salomon. He died later at Delray Medical Center.

    The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of Three Amigos and by Koh for engaging in a high-speed chase rather than allowing law enforcement to catch the suspected robbers.

    The suit is seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $15,000, the threshold necessary to have the case heard in Circuit Court.

    A retired baker from New York, Salomon, and his wife of 49 years, Yvonne, moved to South Florida about three years ago and operated Salomon's Bake Shop, a kosher bakery in Boca Raton.

    The shop closed last year. Salomon attended services at Chabad Lubavitch of Delray Beach on a daily basis.

    The Miami attorney representing the estate, John Leighton, said the Salomon case is simple.

    "It's never acceptable to put people in danger in order to recover money," Leighton said. "The recovery of property is never worth putting innocent lives at risk."

    Representatives of Three Amigos could be reached for comment Wednesday despite an attempt speak to them by telephone.

    Missy Diaz can be reached at mdiaz@sun-sentinel.com or 561-228-5505.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by socuban View Post
    This happened last year. If it goes the way of the plaintiff, it may well put the 3 Amigos under. Thoughts on giving chase?
    A short time earlier, police said the suspects — Roger Rodriguez, Victor Diaz, Luis Reyes, George Dotal and Nelson Urbina — had forced customers to the ground at the West Boynton Beach Boulevard store with a handgun and an Uzi.......

    "It's never acceptable to put people in danger in order to recover money," Leighton said. "The recovery of property is never worth putting innocent lives at risk."


    Doesn't sound like it's about recovering money to me. How about the possibility of preventing another armed, violent felony that may leave someone dead next time?

    How about blaming the people responsible for the actual crime? I know, I know....they don't have any money, so what fun would that be?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array PaulJ's Avatar
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    Giving chase after a crime is always (legally) questionable. There was a somewhat similar case here recently. A guy driving saw his stolen car driving ahead of him, and gave chase. He was charged with reckless driving. I think the car had been stolen a day or so ago. He called the cops as soon as he saw the car.

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    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    It's easy to be a back seat quarter back. I have gotten caught up in chases before myself. Hind sight in always 20/20. You learn by experience whether is be yours or someone elses.........sometimes it cost more than we can pay.
    Last edited by Reborn; May 8th, 2008 at 09:14 AM. Reason: spelling
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I would love to sit on that jury,I don't think that a car chase while calling 911 killed the guy it was the perps firing to try to keep from getting arrested that killed him,sue them not the guy trying to put them behind bars.people will sue for anything because this is america and we allow it
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    VIP Member Array Yoda's Avatar
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    A business to sue, an attorney that pushes it and it doesn't take anything to have to defend yourself from a lawsuit.

    Had he called, was he calling law enforcement?

    Was he being unsafe in his following of the bad guys?

    Was he trying to get the license plate? Was he firing? Armed?

    Unless he was following them into a dead end, he could not have known they were going to turn around and fire.

    Who is to say that the same scenario would not have occurred had the police been giving chase?

    There are too many facts unknown to make a judgement on this one for his actions.

    The original post was asking thoughts on giving chase. Being a good witness and defending yourself is the primary goal. Protecting others and against possible future crimes by these guys is a variable. Each scenario will have different circumstances.
    Yoda, I am, yes.

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    VIP Member Array deadeye72's Avatar
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    The way I read it, it wasn't really a chase. He was just following them maybe to inform LEO where they were so LEO could capture them. They noticed he was following them, turned around and shot. I do not see how anyone could lay blame on him for this, however in this sue for anything society we live in, it does not surprise me. If it had been the police chasing them, with the same outcome, the police would be sued for chasing them.
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    Senior Member Array MR D's Avatar
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    its really simple - the BG's don't have deep pockets

    the store does - and probably an insurance policy - though the insurer will probably duck paying as all of the activity occurred off premises...

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    Member Array josh's Avatar
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    Why did a grocery store have $42,000+ cash on-hand?

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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    Why did a grocery store have $42,000+ cash on-hand?
    You're kidding, right? When was the last time you went grocery shopping?!

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    A human being (Saloman) lost his life, and his wife lost her life mate, and their business a key partner as a result of Koh (representing Three Amigos) giving chase toward insured and replaceable property. Money.

    Further Koh gave chase in a public venue on public streets and as reported did so at high speeds further endangering the public.
    Although the catalyst for the turn of events was in fact with the crew of five robbers, it was the direct result of unnecessary and unlawful action by Mr. Koh that precipitated the death of Mr. Saloman and the resulting losses his wife and estate incurred.

    Had Mr. Koh not given chase to the robbers then there would have been no shooting and thus loss of life for the Saloman's and to his estate real monies and future potential.
    His estate and wife are fine to sue Mr. Koh and his employer too, cannot be blamed for as much, and have incurred very real loss as a direct result of the action made by Mr. Koh.

    If it had been my wife and/or a key business partner I'd sue too. And if it were me to have been the one killed for nothing over chasing robbers for insured replaceable property then I'd hope that my wife, children, and estate would apply every legal means to recoup their losses in expenses and in part potential future income that I would otherwise have been projected to earn.
    As to the robbers themselves I'd sue them too if the effort was to be worth the cost to which with most street crime criminals is less so much.

    One can always recoup and recover loss of property, and especially insured daily receipts for a business. Even if the property and/or receipts are not insured that loss is never so much to be worth exchange for a human life, especially not that of a third party person who had no care what so ever toward the situation nor opportunity to make a choice himself.

    Mr. Koh in his actions willfully endangered the public and as a direct result an uninvolved person lost their life, because of Koh's own singular decision to attempt a loss of property recovery on behalf of his employer Three Amigos.

    In both law and business ethics there is a term called 'Proximate Cause' and it's definition is the following;
    Proximate Cause
    n. A happening which results in an event, particularly injury due to negligence or an intentional wrongful act. In order to prevail (win) in a lawsuit for damages due to negligence or some other wrong, it is essential to claim (plead) proximate cause in the complaint and to prove in trial that the negligent act of the defendant was the proximate cause (and not some other reason) of the damages to the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit).
    Sometimes there is an intervening cause which comes between the original negligence of the defendant and the injured plaintiff, which will either reduce the amount of responsibility or, if this intervening cause is the substantial reason for the injury, then the defendant will not be liable at all.
    In criminal law, the defendant's act must have been the proximate cause of the death of a victim to prove murder or manslaughter.

    Source - law.com Law Dictionary
    In this case proximate cause toward the five robbers firing was Koh giving unlawful chase toward them. As a direct result of his actions to give chase in the effort to recover property losses toward his employer the robbers noted his efforts and fired on him. A round hit and killed Mr. Saloman causing he and his estate immediate irreplaceable losses, as caused by Koh's effort to recover replaceable property.

    Do not do this being neither the crew of five robbers to pull a store heist nor the person be you owner, employer, or employee to attempt property recovery which in a real way might possibly result in losses or in this worst case scenario loss of life toward uninvolved innocents.
    Things would be no different had Koh instead wrecked his car into Saloman causing him to endure property damages, or if the five robbers had wrecked their car into Saloman along the way. Koh would still be on the hook for proximate cause even as the robbers themselves are liable as well.

    I'm no attorney but I do know enough about the law and legality to know not to do what Koh did.
    He's not a police or a bounty hunter nor a TV show hero and the civil suit by the estate is about loss, significant irreplaceable loss, not suing for the sake of doing so and making a buck.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post

    In this case proximate cause toward the five robbers firing was Koh giving unlawful chase toward them. As a direct result of his actions to give chase in the effort to recover property losses toward his employer the robbers noted his efforts and fired on him. A round hit and killed Mr. Saloman causing he and his estate immediate irreplaceable losses, as caused by Koh's effort to recover replaceable property.



    - Janq

    Sometimes there is an intervening cause which comes between the original negligence of the defendant and the injured plaintiff, which will either reduce the amount of responsibility or, if this intervening cause is the substantial reason for the injury, then the defendant will not be liable at all.

    Had Mr Koh struck and killed Mr Saloman with his car while giving chase, I'd tend to agree with you. However, I think a reasonable person would consider the firing of the pistol at Mr. Koh to be an intervening cause and to be the substantial reason for the injury......

    I'm not saying that he was smart to give chase, but I'm not going to blame him for the murder caused by these thugs.

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    David,

    There was no 'intervening cause' in this case.

    An intervening cause would be say Saloman not wearing his seatbelt and being killed by ejection from his car upon being hit by either the fleeing robber or the chasing/following Koh. That would be a cause of loss that was intervening.

    In this case Koh is not the murderer in action as that weight falls square on the shoulders of the trigger persons and IIRC by FL law is applied broadly to all persons directly involved as accomplices.
    As to non criminal civil liability though Mr. Koh's ill advised and unlawful actions directly precipitated the robbers equally ill advised and unlawful _reaction_ to fire on him...which directly resulted in the loss of Saloman's life and the real loss toward his wife, business partner (wife), and the estate which may be inclusive of his business along with his wife and heirs.

    This is serious business and folks have to keep in mind that actions beget reactions which then cause other actions which beget reactions and it trickles on down, sideways, and up too.
    In a bubble of existence then this would not be a problem and chasing bad guys across uninhabited country side or otherwise unused back roads would have little to no problem.
    But since most of us live in real worlds with real neighbors amongst real roads other real people really using them then results such as this can occur...and folks will by law and legality find themselves at a loss, even as they might have been the good guy by action or intent.

    IMHO this story is an excellent piece with a significant lesson for folks to learn.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    dcb,

    Re-read the article, there is no mention of criminality toward Koh. This is a lawsuit in civil court not a criminal defense case. A big difference.

    As to what Koh did the article states;

    Koh jumped in his Mercedes and followed the Charger onto Florida's Turnpike while calling 911.

    Once the suspects realized they were being followed, they pulled off at Atlantic Avenue, made a U-turn and fired, hitting Salomon. He died later at Delray Medical Center.

    The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of Three Amigos and by Koh for engaging in a high-speed chase rather than allowing law enforcement to catch the suspected robbers.

    Source - Shooting victim's estate seeks damages from West Boynton store owner -- -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
    Following is giving chase. He gave chase as an action with purpose to recover his stolen property (money). Had he dialed 911 and given a description and _not_ given chase he'd then have been in the clear. That is not what he did though and as a direct result of his actions the robbers as stated noted his presence and turned around with an attempt and intent to fire on him. They missed and Saloman who was an uninvolved third party suffered real loss along with his wife, their business, and his estate on the whole.

    Suing the five robbers is again a non-starter as they are already behind bars and have been penalized by the state. Further they likely have no means to recompensate the Saloman estate for it's real losses. They the five robbers are just one half of the cause for loss with Koh and he acting as an agent for his employer toward recovery of property loss being the other.
    As to suing the governor et. al. that would be silly and completely irrelevant to the real issue and loss that actually occurred directly.

    The bottom line is clear. One persons loss does not give them license nor reasonableness to incur losses to others as they themselves attempt to limit or recover their own loss. Further if a person (or entities agent/s) are in the act of making such a recovery or preventing loss and as a direct result of their own _direct_ action that results in causing some other third party to take a loss, then they too are responsible and in this specific case just as responsible toward loss as the burglar who pulled the trigger.

    It works like this in criminal law, civil law, and business relations too (my own direct familiarity).
    Like it or not one should atleast know and be aware if not understand it.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Sometimes there is an intervening cause which comes between the original negligence of the defendant and the injured plaintiff, which will either reduce the amount of responsibility or, if this intervening cause is the substantial reason for the injury, then the defendant will not be liable at all.

    Since firing the gun that ultimately caused Mr Saloman's death came between the original negligence and the the actual injury to Mr Saloman, why would that not be an intervening event?

    Unless you're contending that the BG's turning the car around and firing at Mr Koh was a foreseeable result of his following the BG's..... That'd be a tough sell though.

    Again, I'm not condoning Mr Koh's actions, but I'm not sure that the suit has much merit. Of course, not only am I not an attorney, neither do I have all the facts, so.......

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