Actual Case (not my case): $1.5 million Verdict for the family of a 21-year-old college student, Anthony Makowski, who was allegedly strangled to death in a fight at McDonald’s in Pasco County, Florida.
This verdict was reduced to $1 Million dollars because Anthony was found to be 33 percent at fault for this incident. The jury found McDonald’s 33% responsible and the shopping center owner 33% responsible. Another customer of McDonald’s allegedly strangled another to death in the restaurant’s parking lot.
Martin Robles-Taylor, who was 25 years old, allegedly walked up to Anthony in the McDonald’s parking lot. Anthony allegedly waved a flashlight at Robles-Taylor. Robles-Taylor was with a friend, who allegedly threatened Anthony.
The personal representative of Anthony’s estate sued Brickman Inc. d/b/a McDonald’s and B&B Cash Grocery Stores Inc. (the owner of the shopping center). His parents gave testimony about their close relationship with Anthony, who was their one and only child.
The Estate argued that if McDonald’s and the owner of the shopping center would have made the parking lot safer, Anthony would not have been killed.
Attorneys for the Estate showed that both the nearby area and the shopping center where Anthony was killed had a pattern of violent or possibly violent crimes.
In the 4 years before Anthony was killed, there were 700 calls to 911 from the shopping center. McDonald’s employees did not do anything for about 5 minutes after the fight broke out. The police were called and showed up within 1 minute.
The Estate claimed that McDonald’s and the shopping center owner were allegedly both aware of fights and alcohol that was happening before the this incident. One week before Anthony’s death, McDonald’s allegedly employees called the police when two customers threatened to kill each other.
McDonald’s and the shopping center owner said that it was not at fault for Anthony’s death. They argued that Anthony and Robles-Taylor were both drunk.
They claimed that the fight could not have been prevented. Robles-Taylor was never charged with a crime.
He claimed that Anthony started the fight. McDonald’s and the shopping center owner claimed that Anthony was a big guy, and should have been able to defend himself against Robles-Taylor, who was smaller.
A security expert testified for McDonald’s and the shopping center owner that they could not have known that the fight was going to happen because there were no violent felonies in the shopping center before this incident.
For purposes of Florida’s wrongful death law, “minor children” means children under 25 years old.
This verdict shows that you may be able to be awarded a large amount of money if your family member is killed at a McDonald’s restaurant (or a shopping center) because Mcdonald’s (or a shopping center) did not have enough security.
I do not know how much of this verdict was for pain and suffering and how much was for economic damages (lost support and services from the date of the injury through death, and for future lost support from the date of death forward).
Brickman Inc. appears to be a franchisee of McDonald’s.
In any case against a McDonald’s restaurant, you should send a notice of your intent to make a claim to both the actual McDonald’s store that the accident or incident happened at and to McDonald’s corporate office.
Because I do not have a breakdown (pain and suffering vs. lost of support) of the verdict, this verdict does not help give a good idea of how much money you may be able to get if your minor child is killed because of a restaurant or shopping center does not have enough security.
Find out more about Florida parking lot accidents.
The photo above is not from the actual case but used for illustrative purposes only.
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Editors note: This article has been edited since being published.