Explore BrainMass

Business law and ethics: Discuss the opinion Roger L. McClung v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. regarding the murder of Dorothy McClung.

No one from Wal-Mart or Delta Shopping Center abducted or raped Dorothy McClung. Instead of blaming the business, why not blame the local police for failing to protect her. Isn't that the job of the police? discuss

Many May Pursue Premises Security Case Against Wal-Mart ? Abduction, Rape, and Murder Case Sent Back For Trial ? Tennessee. On November 6, 2001, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that where Wal-Mart was the anchor store at a shopping center and had the right to use the entire parking lot, Wal-Mart can be sued after a woman was abducted from the parking lot in 1990. This is true even though there was no evidence that the woman was actually abducted from the portion of the lot outside Wal-Mart, the court said. Wal-Mart shared the parking lot of the Delta Square Shopping Center in East Memphis with 11 other tenants. However, its lease guaranteed it a set percentage of parking spots for its patrons. The plaintiff's wife was abducted from the parking lot and later raped and murdered near West Memphis. Wal-Mart purchases and receipts were found with her body. The family of Dorothy McClung pursued similar damages in state court, suing Wal-Mart, the East Memphis shopping center and the center's manager. The plaintiff alleged that all were negligent in failing to provide adequate security for customers. In 1990, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed trial and appeals court decisions dismissing the lawsuit and ordered a trial. The decision set a precedent that broadened state laws on the liability of store owners when customers are injured by third parties. Following the Tennessee Supreme Court's ruling, Wal-Mart was dismissed as a defendant in that suit, but a jury ordered the shopping center and its management company to pay the plaintiff $1.63 million in damages. The plaintiff then refiled the civil complaint in federal court against Wal-Mart claiming that Wal-Mart's "premises" included a common parking area at the Delta Square Shopping Center, and that Wal-Mart knew the parking lot was dangerous and should have taken steps to make it safer. Wal-Mart argued that it couldn't be held liable unless the plaintiff could show that his wife was abducted from the parking area outside its store. The court disagreed.
Here, "the evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable jury to conclude that the abduction took place somewhere in the center parking lot. Thus, we conclude that plaintiff has raised a genuine issue of fact as to whether the abduction occurred on defendant's premises...Wal-Mart had rights to the center parking lot and Wal-Mart's customers were free to park anywhere in the lot. Nothing indicated to customers that Wal-Mart had any special parking area or extended a special invitation to park in a particular part of the shopping center lot. Thus, Wal-Mart's relationship with its customers was based on an invitation to park anywhere in center parking lot in order to shop at Wal-Mart."

Roger L. McClung v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 270F.3d 1007, Case No. 99-6604. Bruce S. Kramer, Elaine Sheng, P. Bryan Mauldin of Borod & Kramer, Memphis, TN, for plaintiff.

Solution Preview

The reason the police was not held liable for the woman's kidnapping, rape, and eventual death was because the event happened on private property and the police had no way of knowing that the event was occurring unless informed. It was negligence on the party of Wal-Mart and the management of the shopping center not to provide adequate security for their customers. The definition of negligence is when the conduct of one party did not live up to a certain minimal standard of care we are all expected to use in driving, in our work, and in the care of our ...

Solution Summary

The solution clearly explains the five elements of negligence and applies them to this case. A conclusion is stated.