Publix Sued For 2021 Deaths Of Granny And Toddler

Surviving relatives of a grandmother and her toddler who were shot at point blank range in a Publix supermarket in Royal Palm Beach, Florida in June 2021 are suing the supermarket chain for failing to “keep its store reasonably safe” and protect customers from dangers of which Publix “should have been aware.”

The case was filed on Wednesday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court by relatives of Litha G. Varone, 69, and the 1-year-old son, referred to in the petition only by his initials, “S.V.”

Publix Sued For 2021 Deaths Of Granny And Toddler
Publix Sued For 2021 Deaths Of Granny And Toddler

Daniel and Melissa Varone, the child’s parents, are named as plaintiffs in the action, along with David and Sandra Varone. Litha Varone’s children have been named as Daniel, David, and Sandra.

Deputies with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said that on the morning of June 10, a 55-year-old man entered the Publix at The Crossroads complex on 1180 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. and pointed a pistol at the youngster, who was sitting in a shopping cart designed to look like a toy truck.

The shooter let go of the trigger, and the youngster was killed instantly. Even though the grandma put up a fight, he knocked her down and shot her to death as well. The guy, later revealed to be named Timothy Wall, then took his own life.

Nothing suggested Wall knew any of his victims, according to the police. Later reports indicated that Wall’s Facebook posts indicated a desire to murder others, including children.

The complaint claims that Publix did to take “reasonable procedures required to offer security against third-party criminality” after a purported 35% spike in gun killings at commercial sites in 2020.

The lawsuit claims that between January 1, 2020, and May 14, 2022, a total of 448 occurrences involving firearms, including 137 fatalities, occurred at twelve major U.S. supermarket shops.

The biggest store in the United States, Walmart, had the most incidences (310), and the most fatalities (89), according to the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, sixteen of the instances and five of the fatalities occurred at a Publix.

The lawsuit claims that “Publix knew, or should have known, that violence, including gun violence, was a possible concern to its customers and to its staff” at the The Crossroads Publix.

According to the lawsuit, there has been “a lengthy history of criminality” in the area surrounding the Royal Palm Beach Publix, with 40 incidents being reported to police at the shopping complex or nearby between 2018 and 2020.

The majority of the crimes included in the list were misdemeanors, such as drug possession, trespassing, vandalism, burglary, retail and grand theft, car theft, bicycle theft, and loitering. The lawsuit only mentions three violent incidents that occurred in the plaza: a robbery, an attempted child abduction with a pistol, and a “regular nuisance” who threatened to murder two sheriff’s officers.

The complaint claims that Publix did not have a “strong safety strategy to safeguard consumers and personnel.”

The tragedy at issue in this lawsuit was “a ‘when it would happen,’ not a ‘if it would happen,'” according to the complaint, because “the failure to do this, in light of the specific incidents, juxtaposed against the bigger picture of gun violence in commercial establishments,” made the tragedy inevitable.

Publix’s stated shortcomings include not having metal detectors, not having uniformed security guards, and not watching the store’s surveillance footage.

Wall “again wearing black attire, again wearing a mask, holding a golf club, and having a duffel bag slung over his shoulder” reentered the shop shortly after making an earlier purchase.

And yet, “no one paid heed,” the lawsuit claims.

In a statement, the family said, “Publix disregarded every red warning that put the safety of its consumers at risk,” according to a Wednesday article in the Daily Business Review. They made a decision to not invest in security, and it has cost us everything.

Lawyers Sean C. Domnick and Gregory Yaffa of Domnick Cunningham & Whalen in West Palm Beach have filed a complaint against the defendants, claiming that they violated Florida’s Wrongful Death Act and are thus liable for compensatory damages in excess of $30,000.

 

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