The New York Personal Injury Blog

Notorious Mickey D's: Is Restaurant Liable for Violent Patrons?

Are these random acts of violence or a disturbing pattern? In March, a man was attacked at the "notorious McDonald's" in the West Village by two people shouting gay slurs. Last October, a cashier beat down a couple of rowdy customers who slapped him and tried to cross the counter. And earlier this year, also in March, a St. Patrick's Day brawl on the sidewalk again called the restaurant's safety into question.

Last night, a patron let loose with a few homophobic slurs before taking out a razor blade and slicing another customer's elbow, face, neck, and back, reports 1010 WINS. The victim was stitched up at Bellevue Hospital and will survive. Meanwhile, the restaurant's reputation as a danger spot is growing.

Even before this attack, there were talks of boycotts and plans for additional security that seem to have been dropped. In addition to killing their own business by not providing a secure establishment, one also wonders if they are exposing themselves to liability for the seemingly dangerous premises.

A landowner is generally not liable for an unforeseeable random act of violence. For example, if you walk into a grocery store parking lot and get robbed, that's truly unfortunate, but it's probably not the store's problem. However, if similar incidents happen repeatedly and indicate a need for additional security, that's when premises liability will attach. In short, if the store owner knows the property is dangerous but does nothing, he will be liable to the injured patrons.

Hamburglar
Is this guy still available? (via BizzaroComic)

At this point, it's looking more and more like those seemingly abandoned plans for McBouncers at the West Village McD's should be resurrected. Though it's too late to prevent last night's alleged hate crime, if the pattern holds up, more violence at that location seems like a strong possibility. The cost of a bouncer is probably less than what one lawsuit would cost, especially if the bouncer does double-duty on the fry baskets.

Related Resources: