Tuesday, August 7, 2012
On Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified three questions to the Washington Supreme Court in a caes "perfect for a first year torts exam." McKown v. Simon Property Group Inc. (pdf) involved a shooting at the Tacoma Mall in 2005. The plaintiff, a store employee at the mall, was injured and sued the mall owner. The Ninth Circuit certified three questions concerning the scope of the mall owner's duty to protect a mall employee from the criminal acts of a third party:
1) Does Washington adopt Restatement (Second) of Torts § 344 (1965), including comments d and f, as controlling law?
2) To create a genuine issue of material fact as to the foreseeability of the harm resulting from a third party's criminal act when the defendant did not know of the dangerous propensities of the individual responsible for the criminal act, must a plaintiff show previous acts of similar violence on the premises, or can the plaintiff establish reasonably foreseeable harm through other evidence?
3) If proof of previous acts of similar violence is required, what are the characteristics which determine whether the previous acts are indeed similar?
Courthouse News Service has more on the case.