In support of Hardee's Restaurant's motion to dismiss a customer’s lawsuit alleging he was attacked in the restroom in an attempted robbery, the fast food chain claims that the customer must make allegations showing it had a reason to know that a criminal attack would happen for it to have owed a duty.
According to Joel Cox’s July 8 complaint, he claims he was a customer at the Hardee’s in Collinsville on July 13, 2013, when he was allegedly attacked by defendant Eric Manthei in the facility’s restroom in an attempted robbery. Cox, 87, claims he sustained a broken nose, throat injuries and other fractures in the altercation.
Cox states that Manthei and defendant Samantha Harlow entered the restaurant together but never ordered food. Instead, Manthei allegedly followed Cox into the restroom, placed him in a choke hold and attempted to take his wallet while Harlow exited the premises. Following the attack, Manthei allegedly left the scene in a vehicle with Harlow, the suit states.
Manthei is currently incarcerated by the Illinois Department of Corrections in the Centralia Correctional Center, the complaint states.
Cox claims Hardee’s failed to provide a safe and secure environment for its invitees and establish security guidelines for franchise owners.
Hardee’s Restaurant filed a motion to dismiss Counts I and II of the complaint on Aug. 24.
“Plaintiff’s complaint, and in particular its allegations purporting to state a cause of action against Hardee’s for negligence, is completely devoid of any facts to support a claim of foreseeability on the part of Hardee’s, and therefore, there are insufficient allegations to state a claim that Hardee’s owed a duty to plaintiff,” the motion states.
It filed a memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss on Sept. 23. In the memorandum, the defendant claims that the “existence of a duty on the part of property owners to protect patrons from criminal acts of third parties is predicated on foreseeability.”
Citing a 2006 Illinois appellate decision in Marshall v Burger King, the defendant argues that “there must be some allegations that, based on the place and character of the business, defendants had reason to know that the negligent conduct of third persons was likely to endanger its customers.”
Cox seeks a judgment of more than $50,000, plus attorney’s fees and costs.
He is represented by Joseph N. Reames of The Law Office of Joseph N. Reames in Wood River.
Hardee’s is represented by Robert E. Tucker of Goffstein, Raskas, Pomerantz, Kraus & Sherman in St. Louis.
Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-868