The mother of an Arby’s worker who was murdered by a coworker at a restaurant in Hickory Hills, Illinois, in 2017 can’t sue the franchisees, as workers compensation is the exclusive remedy, an Illinois appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Doreen Price sued Lunan Roberts Inc., Lunan Corp., Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. and Irvin Thomas in connection with the murder of her son, John Price, by Mr. Thomas during the men’s night shift. She claimed the businesses were liable for her son’s death through negligent hiring, retention and supervision of their employees, among other allegations, according to Price v. Lunan Roberts Inc., filed in the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Second Division.
At issue was whether the men’s dispute, documented on video surveillance that did not include audio, was work-related or personal, as Ms. Price claimed the two had spent time together outside of work, enjoyed similar hobbies and had a prior dispute over a video game console.
The circuit court granted summary judgment to defendants Lunan Roberts and Lunan Corp., finding that the plaintiff’s exclusive remedy for the injury in the case was under the Workers’ Compensation Act, as there was no proof of the nature of their feud.
The appeals court affirmed, saying “there are simply no facts in the record that the murder was the result of any personal dispute between Price and Thomas. To reach the conclusion plaintiff urges us to reach, we would have to engage in speculation that is not supported by record evidence.”
This article was first published in Business Insurance.