Case Study 1: Shooting at night club leads to 3.5 million dollar verdict[i]. An OH law firm represented the mother of an 18 year old young man who was shot and killed at a night club. He was standing watching a fight take place, when an unknown assailant discharged a firearm, killing our client’s son. A claim was brought against the night club for improper security, resulting in a 3.5 million dollar judgment.

Case Study 2[ii]: Members of greater Boston’s Nepali community, which numbers about 6,000 to 7,000, are calling for justice and trying to raise money to cover funeral expenses after one of their own was gunned down behind the counter of a Tedeschi’s store. The president and C.E.O. of Tedeschi’s stores put out a statement saying he’s is deeply saddened by the loss of SURENDRA DANGOL to a senseless act of violence.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Unit at 617-343-4470. Individuals wishing to provide information anonymously may do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Hotline at 1-800-494-TIPS or texting ‘TIPS’ to CRIME (27463).

Case Study 3[iii]: Missouri City Police have arrested a 17-year old Raymond Whitcher in the case of Ashok Bhattarai’s murder. Full story here. A Nepali student who was working his shift at a convenience store in Missouri City, Texas, was shot with a rifle and killed during a robbery on Sept. 28.

Case Study 4: The Council on American-Islamic Relations[iv] (CAIR) called on the FBI to investigate a possible bias motive for the murder of a Texas convenience store owner, allegedly shot to death by a suspected white supremacist. Surveillance video showed that the store owner, 50-year-old Naushad Virani, was shot during a robbery Friday night in Liberty County, Texas. Local authorities are investigating whether the murder was a hate crime. When arrested, the alleged killer told deputies: When I saw that all of you were white I decided to give up and not fight. ” He also reportedly admitted that he shot the store owner. The suspect in the case has a lengthy criminal record and is believed to be a member of a white supremacist group. He has many tattoos, including a Nazi SS symbol on the right side of his neck. A CAIR representative in Texas is in touch with the family of the victim.

ANY SIMILARITIES ON THE ABOVE FOUR CASES?

List of Incidents leading to death of Nepalese in the US

City and State Venue Victim Incident Status
Boston, MA Convenience Store Surendra Dangol, 40 December 27, 2009 Fatally shot dead. Criminal at large
Missouri City, TX First Stop Food Store Ashok Bhattarai, 21 September 28, 2008 Fatally shot dead. 17-year-old Raymond Whitcher for the murder.
Bedford, TX D&S Food Store in Bedford. Gaurab Rajbanshi, 28 June 11, 2007 Theodis Dodson pleaded guilty to capital murder and received a life sentence. Jeff Dodson is being tried for the death penalty for killing. Fredrick Hughes was in the get-a-way car and was found not guilty.
East Fort Worth, TX TL Food Store Jas Bahadur Rai, 48 January 7, 2009 Leonard Junior Coulter, 46, was arrested
Baltimore, MD Texaco gas station Himank Karki, 21 August 27, 2007 Fatally shot dead. Criminal at large
TX Leon County, Amrit Dhital, 21 January 7, 2006 Car Accident not at fault
TX Leon County, Puskar Acharya, 21 January 7, 2006 Car Accident not at fault
TX Leon County, Prahlad Gurung, 22 January 7, 2006 Car Accident not at fault
TX Leon County, Subash Gurung, 20 January 7, 2006 Car Accident not at fault
MN Southern Minnesota highway. Utsav Basnet, 19 January 4, 2006 Car Accident-Not at fault
MN Southern Minnesota highway. Bedija Kharel, 20 January 4, 2006 Car Accident-Not at fault
MN Southern Minnesota highway. Nishma Timilsina, 21 January 4, 2006 Car Accident-Not at fault

Dangers of Death and Serious Injury while working at the Retail Stores and gas Stations:

Accidents that are caused by defective or dangerous property, either inside or outside a building, are called “premises liability” accidents. Here are the general guidelines for premises liability accidents on legal responsibilities. Accidents that are caused by defective or dangerous property, either inside or outside a building, are called “premises liability” accidents. These accidents can take place at commercial buildings (stores or offices), residences (private homes or rentals), or on public property (parks, streets, or public transportation).[v]

The Basic Liability Rules for Premises Accidents

There are two basic rules to determine who is responsible for a premises accident.

Rule One: The Owner Must Keep the Property Safe

The owner or occupier of property has a legal duty to anyone who enters the property — as a tenant, a shopper, or a personal or business visitor — not to subject that person to an unreasonable risk of injury because of the design, construction, or condition of the property. The reason for this rule is simple: The owner has control over the safety of the premises and the visitor does not. For example, if the owner of an apartment building does not fix a broken piece of tile in the entrance hall, he or she is responsible if a visitor trips on that tile and is injured.

Rule Two: The Visitor Must Use the Property Normally

The second rule of premises liability applies to the conduct of the injured person. If a person gets injured while acting in an unexpected, unauthorized, or dangerously careless way, the property owner or occupier is not responsible. For example, if a guest swings down the stairs on the handrail, the handrail breaks, and the guest is injured, the owner will not be held responsible.

What about Injured Employees?

These rules extend to employees who are injured on their employer’s property; however, employees must file a worker’s compensation claim rather than a private injury claim.

Commercial Property

If you are injured at a store, office, or other business, whether the owner or occupier is legally responsible for your accident is usually determined by where the accident occurred and what the lease or other business contract says about such liability. You should notify the business about your accident and injuries. The business’s insurance company will either handle your claim itself or pass the matter on to the building owner’s insurance company.

A store owner is responsible for the safety of staff inside the store as well as the safety of all those outside in the parking lot. If they fail to keep their premises safe, then they are considered liable for any harm caused be their negligence. Retail store negligence cases can include accidents that occur on the premises, attacks and assaults that occur on the premises, and any harm that occurs as a result of an illegal sale. A retail store negligence attorney must be contacted as soon as possible.

According to the law, property owners are obligated to provide safe, secure and properly maintained premises. Regardless of how or why a person enters a property, property owners may be held liable if injury occurs. Many factors can impact the outcome of a premises liability case. Was the injured party (entrant) an invitee, licensee, or trespasser? Did the injury result from a natural or artificial condition of the premises? Was the property satisfactorily maintained? Was the facility inadequately secured?

Generally, the law provides for compensation of preventable accidents. Recompense may include loss of income, medical bills, as well as consideration for pain and suffering. Many businesses and homeowners carry premises liability insurance; however insufficient insurance leaves the property owner personally responsible for additional monies. If offered an insurance settlement, it is wise to consult with premises liability attorneys who will evaluate the case and ensure that the client’s interests are protected.

Late Surendra Dangol and Justice

Massachusetts has just changed its premises liability law with regard to self-service retailers.  On April 17, 2007, Massachusetts’ highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court, decided Sheehan v. Roche Brothers Supermarkets, Inc., which lightens plaintiff’s burden of proof in slip and fall cases. In Sheehan, the plaintiff slipped on a grape inside a supermarket sustaining significant injuries that required a month of hospitalization.  In reversing a decision for the defendant, the Supreme Judicial Court adopted a new approach to premises liability.

Previously, Massachusetts followed the traditional approach for premises liability cases.  That is, a store owner simply had to “maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all of the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the injury, and the burden of avoiding the risk.”  Thus, a store owner could only be held liable for an injury if the owner had actual or constructive notice of the existence of the dangerous condition and had sufficient time to fix the condition. In deciding to forego the traditional approach in favor of a “mode of operation approach,” the Court stated that the switch was necessitated due to the change in individualized clerk-assisted retail stores to self-service retailers.  Due to the prominence of self-service businesses, the Court stated that focus should be on the reasonable foreseeability of a patron’s carelessness.  Consequently, where a store’s chosen mode of operation makes it reasonably foreseeable that a dangerous condition will occur, a store owner may be held liable for injuries if the plaintiff proves that the store owner failed to take reasonable precautions necessary to protect him or her from the foreseeable dangerous condition.

Although the plaintiff no longer needs to show that a store owner had notice of the dangerous condition, in order to prove a claim the plaintiff must do the following:

(1) Show the injury was attributable to a reasonably foreseeable dangerous condition on the owner’s premises that is related to the owner’s self-service mode of operation;

(2) Show the owner failed to take reasonable measures, commensurate with the risk involved, to prevent the injury; and

(3) Persuade a jury that the owner acted unreasonably.  Based on the Sheehan decision, all store owners, especially those which allow patrons to obtain their own goods, must take significant precautions to protect the safety of their patrons[1].

Who is responsible then?

Generally, a store owner is responsible for the safety of staff inside the store as well as the safety of all those outside in the parking lot. If they fail to keep their premises safe, then they are considered liable for any harm caused be their negligence. Retail store negligence cases can include accidents that occur on the premises, attacks and assaults that occur on the premises, and any harm that occurs as a result of an illegal sale. A retail store negligence attorney must be contacted as soon as possible.

A quick Google for Personal Injury Lawyers (retail store negligence) in Boston, MA shows the following results:

Generally, an initial consultation with these law firms is free. It is possible that the lawyer may agree to work on a contingent basis e.g. 1/3 of the amount recovered as the fee. If one has suffered a serious injury in a premises liability accident, don’t assume there isn’t anything you can do about it. The property owner’s insurance company won’t stand up and fight for your financial interests[vi].

Sadly, Nepali lawyers are mostly based in New York, who cannot practice a MA law with NY License. This raises the concern of legal representation and lawyers from our community in all states resided by Nepalese. ANLUS is ALWAYS willing to assist the family and community to get connected with an attorney for appropriate legal action ASAP. Please communicate regarding this matter at anlusnepal@gmail.com OR leave a message at www.anlus.org

Disclaimer: Information and News article excerpts used in this article are not intent to violate IP laws but a mere attempt of dissemination for public interest.


[1] http://gracegarcia.typepad.com/massachusettslitigation/premises_liability/


[i] http://www.mmmpalaw.com/CM/Custom/custom36.asp

[ii] http://wbztv.com/local/jamaica.plain.shooting.2.1394258.html

[iii] http://www.sajaforum.org/2008/09/crime-nepali-st.html

[iv] http://thesop.org/law/2009/12/29/white-supremacist-allegedly-shot-convenience-store-owner

[v] http://articles.directorym.com/Premises_Liability_Accidents_Massachusetts-r1141105-Massachusetts.html

[vi] http://www.kaplanbond.com/CM/PersonalInjury/Premises-Liability.asp