Domino’s sued in murder of deliveryman

by Walter Olson on June 26, 2009

Springfield, Mass.: The parents’ suit charges that the chain wrongfully sent Corey Lind out to deliver pizza to dangerous and unknown addresses; he was ambushed and murdered in 2007. Noteworthy angle:

According to the suit, prior to 2000 Domino’s had a policy of not making or of limiting deliveries to certain areas.

As a result of discrimination claims against the company, the federal Department of Justice investigated the policy. The result was an agreement between the government and Domino’s establishing procedures Domino’s could use to limit or stop deliveries to certain areas based on safety.

The suit said that Domino’s required all stores to implement a Limited Delivery Service Policy which, among other things, would evaluate each store’s delivery and service area and provide for the safety of delivery workers.

{ 15 comments }

1 A.W. 06.26.09 at 9:39 am

Okay, that is officially stupid. I mean isn’t the obvious defense “assumption of risk?”

2 Bob Neal 06.26.09 at 10:15 am

Since assumption of risk no longer applies to firefighters and police, it certainly won’t apply here. Domino’s is in an absolute no win. Much like lenders facing CRA liability who turned around and lent to everyone to avoid class litigation, Domino’s attempted to safeguard its employees and its business by staying away from high crime areas, only to be sued into agreeing to put its employees at risk.

3 bradley13 06.26.09 at 10:27 am

The right answer is to sue – not Domino’s – but the department of justice that forced them to stop evaluating the safety of delivery areas?

4 Jim Collins 06.26.09 at 12:10 pm

A long time ago, I was working a couple of part-time jobs at the same time. During the day I worked as an armed security guard and at night I delivered pizzas for Domino’s. Even though I had all of the necessary certifications and permits to carry a weapon, I was told that I was not permitted to be armed while making deliveries. About 2 months after I started, I was robbed and beaten up pretty good. When I went back to work, I said the hell with this and started carrying a pistol on deliveries. A year later I was robbed again, this time at gunpoint. I cooperated giving up the money, my wallet and the pizza. When the guy started to leave, he took a shot at me, thankfully missing me and I returned fire, hitting his car several times. After finishing with the Police, I returned to the store, where I was promptly fired. Around a month later, I got a call from the Store Manager, offering me my job back. I found out that he was having problems filling his driver slots after another store in the District had been robbed and the Manager, Assistant Manager and two drivers were lead into the freezer and killed.

I have heard that you are safer in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, than you are delivering pizzas these days.

A driver doesn’t get to pick and choose their deliveries. If a driver refuses to deliver to a certain area, odds are that the driver won’t have a job long. When Domino’s removed my ability to defend myself while I worked for them, they accepeted the responsibility for my safety. I have no problem with this lawsuit. I hope the Lind family wins big.

5 Dennis 06.26.09 at 12:47 pm

I worked as an unarmed guard for a while. There was always a pistol in my kit bag, or otherwise close at hand, even though it was an instant firing offense. My job was not worth my life.

6 A.W. 06.26.09 at 1:38 pm

Bob

> Since assumption of risk no longer applies to firefighters and police, it certainly won’t apply here.

I don’t think its that simple. i have never heard of a cop or his widow suing becuase he got shot in a bad neighborhood. if you are a cop you obviously assume that risk. then again, isn’t there also worker’s comp for that sort of thing?

Also you can’t apply assumption of risk if, say, a cop or a firefighter run into a burning house to save people, or something like that. But that is covered under the exception to assumption of risk that “danger invites rescue.” And that principle is not limited to cops and firefighters. indeed that line “danger invites rescue” comes from a case when an ordinary man ran onto train tracks to rescue a child but ended up being hit himself. when his survivors sued the train company, the train company pled assumption of risk, and was shot down on that logic.

By comparison i think it would be a stretch to say danger invites pizza. That employee would know, perhaps better than the company, how dangerous the neighborhood is. i won’t claim to know the whole law in this area, but i doubt they would create an exemption from the assumption of risk defense to cover pizza deliveries. he didn’t have to be a pizza delivery boy. he could have done alot of different jobs. and having chosen that job, he can’t complain that he got sent somewhere unsafe. he always had an option: quitting.

7 mojo 06.26.09 at 2:12 pm

Why was the USDOJ involved in the first place? Is having pizza delivered a major civil rights concern? Really?

Delivery areas and times are the company’s business, not DOJ’s.

8 Bill Alexander 06.26.09 at 2:17 pm

mojo, because the areas that they wouldn’t deliver to were minority areas.

9 VMS 06.26.09 at 2:47 pm

Jim

If your aim were better, one such problem would have been solved! No lawyers, no courts, no trial, no prison, no wasted taxpayer dollars.

10 Bob Neal 06.26.09 at 6:54 pm

A.W. there are a ton of examples of the traditional “firefighter rule” falling by the wayside.

11 Dave Lincoln 06.26.09 at 11:04 pm

Jim, I thought you were going to tell us, so I gotta ask:

Did you take the job again after your month sabbatical? I would have had to tell the old boss to stick it, even if that meant eating ramen noodles, jello, and mac-and-cheese to make ends meet.

(I also wish you had hit the guy.)

Oh, one more thing, this is a heck of a position for Dominos to be in (very much akin to many banks due to the CRA BS, as a commenter stated above), with one out, however. If they had not stopped their employees from exercising their right to defend themselves, they may have prevented some of the suits, at least. That’s what the lawsuit should be about, if anything at all.

12 Mitchell Young 06.27.09 at 5:03 am

A pizza delivery guy usually has both hands occupied with bulky items. He has to approach an unknown house in probably largely unfamiliar neighborhood. A potential robber knows fairly precisely when he will arrive. The pizza guy is, in short, a sitting duck. Having a gun is not a complete solution to this problem , he is not going to be able to defend himself by simply packing heat. Indeed Jim Collins’s story above illustrates just that — the perp was able to rob him anyway and got off the first shot — though obviously having the gun helped secondarily.

The real problem is the violation of freedom of association that is ‘civil rights law’. The old southern obstructionists had it about right — once you start forcing people to associate with people they don’t want to associate with — even if the association is a mere business transaction — there will be no exceptions even for rational ‘discrimination.’

13 Patrick 06.27.09 at 7:08 am

I wonder what Massachusetts has to say about the exclusive remedy doctrine and workers compensation. While I feel for the parents, in my state and many others this suit would be doomed from the start. The driver’s estate would receive a workers compensation death/funeral benefit, and that’s it.

14 Jim Collins 06.27.09 at 10:10 am

No, I didn’t go back.

I didn’t hit him because I didn’t have a clear shot. I wanted to let him know that I was armed so that he wouldn’t come back. The cops got him the next day when he tried to have a body shop repair the bullet holes in his car.

As far as I know they never caught the people who killed the others.

15 ps 06.29.09 at 2:24 am

The book Snowcrash comes to mind. It’s time to call in the Deliverator.

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