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Widow of man shot at the movies sues the theater for damages

Approximately two years ago, in January 2014, a man was shot to death at a movie theater in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Earlier this month, the man’s widow filed a wrongful death and personal injury suit against the movie theater, one of the theater’s employees and the developer of the theater.

The suit was filed in Dade City Circuit Court. It is asking for a jury trial and over $15,000 in wrongful death compensation. The dollar amount is based on a variety of damages, including: permanent injury, disability, disfigurement mental anguish and more. The widow was also shot and seriously injured during the violent incident.

In the shooting, the man was killed by a retired police captain from Tampa. The ex-police captain was criminally charged relating to the incident. He will face second-degree murder allegations in court. He will also face aggravated battery charges after shooting and injuring the widow’s finger.

According to the widow, the shooter was being confrontational with her husband leading up to the incident, specifically when he asked her husband to turn off his cellphone. Next, the ex-officer exited the theater in order to tell the theater’s management that the man was inappropriately using the phone.

The deceased man and the shooter started arguing after the shooter returned. It was then that the widow’s husband threw popcorn at the ex-officer, who pulled out his weapon and began to fire.

According to the lawsuit, the movie theater and its employee were negligent, and had they responded to the ex-officer’s complaint, they could have avoided the altercation. Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that the theater should have had procedures to enforce its no gun policy on movie theater property, and it negligently failed to train its employee.

When a fatality, shooting, violent crime, accident or murder occur on a specific piece of property in Florida, the owner of the property might be liable for damages relating to the incident. Therefore, any time following an injurious or fatal incident, Florida residents may want to investigate the facts of the case to determine if legal claims for damages can be made.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Florida widow sues theater in fatal shooting,” Geoff Fox, Tampa Tribune, Jan. 13, 2016