A favorable ruling for Ms. Phillips would most likely bring down a lot of signs.
This is a discussion on Shooting victim sues former employer, BJ's Wholesale Club within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Shooting victim sues former employer, BJ's Wholesale Club | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com NORFOLK A woman who was shot and wounded by her estranged husband after ...
Shooting victim sues former employer, BJ's Wholesale Club | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com
A woman who was shot and wounded by her estranged husband after he killed her sister has filed a lawsuit against the BJ's Wholesale Club where the crimes happened in April 2006.
The lawsuit, filed by Karen Phillips in Norfolk Circuit Court in March, seeks $65 million.
Her husband, James Phillips, was convicted in 2007 of wounding her and killing her sister, Linda Baggett, at the store in the Western Branch section of Chesapeake. Phillips was sentenced to two life terms plus eight years.
Karen Phillips was a store employee. She claims in her lawsuit that BJ's knew about the danger posed by James Phillips and failed to protect her from him. The couple had been married for 14 years but were separated and were going through a divorce.
According to the lawsuit, James Phillips had been removed from the premises at least three times in the years before the shooting for threatening actions toward Karen. Store employees had witnessed Phillips threatening his wife, including dragging her from the store by her hair, the suit says.
Five days before the shooting, a security officer escorted James Phillips from the store and banned him from the premises after he harassed his wife there, the suit says.
On the day of the April 18 shooting, Phillips called his wife's manager, Barbara Harris, four times, demanding to speak to his wife, the suit says. Harris also is named as a defendant.
"His phone calls were threatening. He was very upset. He threatened to come to the store. He stated more than once that he could not be held responsible for his actions," the suit says.
That afternoon, the suit says, James Phillips came to the store and confronted Harris with bank statements showing withdrawals made by his wife and demanded to see her.
The shootings occurred later that evening. According to testimony from James Phillips' trial, he parked his van in the BJ's lot to wait for his wife to end her shift at the store that night. He had five weapons with him.
Baggett, the sister, arrived at the store to pick up Karen Phillips. James Phillips first shot her. Then he ran into the store and shot his wife. Store video captured the shooting.
Karen Phillips had been given permission to come in late that day so she could talk to her divorce lawyer and was unaware of her husband's earlier phone calls and visit to the store, said attorney C. Arthur "Brother" Rutter III, who filed the lawsuit on her behalf.
"Do you know what they did when she showed up?" Rutter said Tuesday. "They didn't even tell her."
Rutter says in the lawsuit that BJ's "had a duty to warn their employee, and to take precautions to protect her."
Rutter said Karen Phillips raised her right hand to ward off the shotgun blast. Doctors had to amputate that hand, Rutter said. The blast also hit her face and neck, and the impact caused her to have a stroke that left her paralyzed on her left side.
The lawyer for BJ's, Erik Nyce, did not return a phone call Tuesday. In response to the lawsuit, he says that BJ's did not have notice of a specific danger posed by James Phillips.
"The complaint does not suggest that there was anything that BJ's employees could have done once the armed assault commenced," Nyce wrote.
Nyce also cited case law that says the owner of land has no duty to warn or protect people on the premises from the criminal acts of a third person.
"BJ's was not in any position to know what was to occur or to prevent this tragic occurrence," Nyce wrote.
The case is scheduled for a hearing in May.
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A favorable ruling for Ms. Phillips would most likely bring down a lot of signs.
It's about whether or not a company that has been given reason for concern has an obligation to inform the employee and/or protect them. Big difference."had a duty to warn their employee, and to take precautions to protect her."
I think most people can not comprehend that this can happen. If they think it can not happen then it won't. Thats why people are always so surprised when it does happen. I know my employer has no comprehension of security. They are die hard liberals. They do nothing and ***** about stuff when it happens but can not solve a problem for the life of them.
Don't know that they could've stopped the attack. If it happened to me the lawsuit would be because my employer will not allow me to bring my own protection.
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I'm afraid that BJ's losing the lawsuit would result in them putting signs up, to protect themselves from the next lawsuit. "Well, we took the actions we could to protect our employees, see the sign prohibiting guns?"
I think I would rather pay a fine, or be fired, than be missing a hand, be paralyzed, have a stroke, or be dead.
The first time you aren't armed and prepared may be the last time you wished you were.
I think BJ's should sue Karen Phillips for repeatedly endangering her fellow employees by coming to work while knowing her husband was out to get her.
"Failed to protect her"? BJs repeatedly protected her! There is no indication that saying the husband showed up at work would have amounted to anything different than before. He had threatened her in the past at work and she had continued returning to work. Gimme a break!
They had precautions in place, but precautions aren't always fully effective. I suppose they could have provided her with full body armor and the like, but that really isn't their job. They do have security guards.Rutter says in the lawsuit that BJ's "had a duty to warn their employee, and to take precautions to protect her."
Of course, all this begs the question as to what Karen had been doing for the last three years that these things were going on to help protect herself. Had she been involved in martial arts? Did she carry OC. Did she get a carry permit and carry a gun? Did she own body armor? Apparently not.
Had she been told of the phone calls, nothing would have changed. She is just trying to blame the store for HER problems.
Considering yourself to be defenseless is the first administrative step to becoming a victim.
It is a blessing to no longer work with the public.Even if you carry,that just gives you an edge.People bent on killing are hard to stop.It seems to be acceptable to a lot of nuts to just shoot another person because they are angry.Sad.
The manager should have given her a "heads up" that her husband was acting nutty again. Then maybe she could have left early that day and prevented this. I think she should be suing if BJ's prevented her from carrying. Otherwise, I don't think she has much of a case.
how can they say they had no notice of a threat?"His phone calls were threatening. He was very upset. He threatened to come to the store. He stated more than once that he could not be held responsible for his actions," the suit says.
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I never understand crimes like this.
Why didn't he just find a new wife? Just move on instead of throwing your life away. Dumb.
Now he's going to have a new husband in prison.
Did they say what 5 weapons he was carrying?
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