Man beaten with bat outside Green Hills Dillard's sues retailer

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 11:52pm
gavel 4.png

The 63-year-old man severely beaten in the Dillard’s parking garage in Green Hills has filed suit against the company, saying it was negligent in not taking appropriate security measures in the face of “the wide scope and high severity of criminal activity” near its store.

In his suit, which was filed June 5 in Davidson County Circuit Court, Bob DeMoss is seeking $10 million in compensation and another $10 million in punitive damages from Arkansas-based Dillard’s Inc.

On March 3, DeMoss parked his car at the parking garage on Abbott Martin Road. He was then attacked by four individuals, who were allegedly seeking money to buy drugs. One of the four struck DeMoss in the back of the head with an aluminum baseball bat and then hit him several more times in the head.

DeMoss sustained “a fractured skull, facial fractures, brain damage, cognitive deficits and blindness,” injuries that have left him needing around-the-clock rehabilitation care at Stallworth Rehabilitation Center.

DeMoss’s attorney, John Norris of downtown-based Norris & Norris PLC, calls his client’s injuries catastrophic. DeMoss’ niece and conservator, Catherine Robette Campbell, is also a party to the lawsuit.

The suit — which is available here — alleges that the parking garage was poorly lit and that there was no security presence when the attack occurred. DeMoss and Campbell also say in the suit that “a very substantial” amount of criminal activity had occurred near the garage, creating a public-safety obligation for the department store operator.

“Defendants knew or had reason to know… that criminal acts against users of the parking garage where [DeMoss] was attacked were reasonably foreseeable.”

A voicemail left Tuesday with Dillard’s corporate headquarters in Little Rock was not immediately returned.

All four suspects in DeMoss’ attack were eventually arrested and charged with especially aggravated battery.

28 Comments on this post:

By: the_sparkchaser on 6/10/09 at 12:14

You have GOT to be bloody kidding me...a "public safety obligation" for the retailer??? How about a personal safety obligation for the plainteiff? If it was such public knowledge that the area near Abbott MArtin Road was such a high crime area (and I would LOVE to see the statistics on THAT one) then the driver was personally negligent to choose to park there...

I'm truly sorry that Mr. DeMoss was severely injured, but this is utterly ridiculous! This is not about justice; this is about a vulture of a law firm latching on to someone they can exploit for big bucks...they ought to be strung up for it, too...

By: dargent7 on 6/10/09 at 4:53

I concur. Green Hills a "known area for criminal activity"? I'm glad DeMoss survived, but $10 million? This punk Tice who struck DeMoss was just released from jail in Jan '09. At 21 he is white trash. Sue his family for raising garbage.

By: 2476 on 6/10/09 at 5:28

This is the most frivilous lawsuit I have heard of in a very long time. Tell me again why Dillards is responsible for the beating outside of the store. If he carrys through with this stupid lawsuit, then he deserves just what he got from the beating.
John Norris, the lawyer that has filed the lawssuit is nothing but a hungry, greedy lawyer, who is preying on Dillards. Why not file the suit on the perpetrator who committed the crime.
Also he makes it sound as though this is a high crime area, go to the Antioch, South Nashville area if you want to see high crime.

By: house_of_pain on 6/10/09 at 5:59

You gotta be kiddin' me. I hope the legal team representing Dillard's can get this dismissed. What ever happened to personal responsibility?

By: ddsmatt on 6/10/09 at 6:30

What happened to this man is unbelievably horrible. I'm sure he and his family are just trying to make sense of it all and maybe dim lighting and poor security was part of the cause. There has been increased acts of random violence in green hills such ad Roma pizza incident which resulted in murder!

By: matahari on 6/10/09 at 7:02

the lawyers and the family don't want to sue the perpetrators of the crime because there's no money in it for them. of course it's about money, not about justice. it's a horrible thing to happen to someone, but to sue the retailer? might as well sue the contractors who built the garage, the company that provided the building materials, the company that made the baseball bat, who else can they go after? the sky, apparently, is the limit.

By: ChickeringLife on 6/10/09 at 7:14

It's sad to see a victim (DeMoss) in essence is creating another victim (Dillard's) with his frivolous lawsuit. Think about it...DeMoss was robbed. Now, DeMoss is going to "rob" Dillard's. Only difference is one involved violence and the other involved greed and manipulation.

By: dogs on 6/10/09 at 7:19

The police and security officers can't be everywhere. That's why in these violent times that we are living in with criminals only being detained long enough to get their dental, vision, and health needs taken care of, more and more people are going armed to prevent this from happening to them or their family. It's sad that its come to this. I remember a time when nobody locked their cars or homes here in Nashville.

By: frank brown on 6/10/09 at 8:12

I don't think the fellow was a customer. He used the area as an exercise location. He is probably somewhat correct in that security is lacking and crime is know to be prevalent at the Green Hills Mall parking area. Pay his doctor bills and give him 300,000 dollars.

By: localboy on 6/10/09 at 8:18

With horrific traffic and mass transit that brings criminals to your door, yes, Green Hills Mall has it all...

By: ktintennessee on 6/10/09 at 8:22

I imagine that this crime will hurt the Green Hills stores. Maybe they should have security in every garage. On every floor, to stop this. That would be cheaper then losing business.

By: stonetennessee on 6/10/09 at 8:48

Chickering Life--I agree. Dillards will be a victim. Lawsuits like this are the reason we are progressively restricted by the private sector. Liability issues keep us away from private areas where the public previously has been welcome.. The mall walkers will eventually be forbidden to be in the mall when the stores are not open. This is not a Dillards problem anyway, but a mall problem. How can you sue the store when you were not there to shop? The mall provides security, not the individual stores.

If the lighting and security were such an issue in the garage where he parked, where is the personal responsibility for Mr. DeMoss to park elsewhere? He could have parked out front by the mall entrance near Cheesecake Factory.

By: Funditto on 6/10/09 at 8:55

Wow, when I first saw this, I thought for sure Bart Durham would be his attorney. I'm surprised an upstanding firm like John's would take this on. Times must be tough.

By: shrub on 6/10/09 at 9:01

Funditto wrote "I'm surprised an upstanding firm like John's would take this on. Times must be tough." Or...maybe the lawsuit has merit.

By: stonetennessee on 6/10/09 at 9:09

In my previous post I should have also mentioned that Mr. DeMoss and the rest of us have the right to live our lives free from the fear that someone will attack us. But, life is not always fair and the thugs around us will take advantage of any little weakness we have. The real criminals here are the thugs and this lawsuit makes that fact fade to the background. Maybe Mr. DeMoss should sue everyone who failed to make a positive change in the thugs lives----their parents, their teachers, their clergy, their nextdoor neighbors, the local police officers.... Makes the same sense as suing Dillards.

By: girliegirl on 6/10/09 at 10:16

Stone's right.... we park in front of the Cheesecake now and have done so since the "Rolex" incident. Dillard's did nothing wrong, IMO, and even if there had been cameras, it wouldn't have prevented those thugs from attacking an innocent victim. Leave Dillard's out of this one. DeMoss had enough intelligence to park elsewhere.

By: SirKnight on 6/10/09 at 10:21

This case DOES have merit. When an individual is injured on private property, there is liability on someone's part. Whether the injured sues or not is another matter.

In the past decade, Green Hills HAS become a higher crime rate area. Andrea Conte (Mrs. Bredesen) was kidnapped in broad daylight there. I had my car broken into there a five years ago. And just last week, a tennager waiting for roadside service to help him start his car was robbed and locked in his trunk in the GHM garage!

If Mr. DeMoss requires continuing treatment and is as badly hurt as the report states, I hope he wins. It's possible that Dillard's will bring suit against Green Hills Mall accordingly. All businesses have liability insurance that protects them against such claims.

I am sure they will contest this and come to some sort of mutual settlement. Mr. DeMoss deserves some monetary compensation for what he has gone through.

By: Lorenzo on 6/10/09 at 10:30

Green Hills Mall touts itself as an upscale shopping location and attracts not only the privileged but also the criminal elements who prey on the preoccupied, elderly, and weak. Had this episode occurred in Antioch half of the posters here would have passed over the article altogether much less publishing their distain for Mr. Demoss and his legal representatives.

Years ago when Dillard's acquired Cain-Sloan's they also acquired the parking garage and used the garage in their advertisements as an enhancement to their Green Hills shopping experience. If the mall truly had been experiencing an increase in violent crimes the public has reasonable expectations from mall management and Dillard's to provide ramped up security for all customers.

Last week a similar crime occurred in an adjacent parking garage, did anyone bother to notice how quickly mall management released information to the effect the crime did not occur on their campus and implying Green Hills Mall is a safe place to shop.

By: Lorenzo on 6/10/09 at 10:34

to SirKnight: Andrea Conte was kidnapped in the parking lot in front of her store which was located on White Bridge Rd.

By: SirKnight on 6/10/09 at 10:47

P.S. Does anyone remember when Country Music artist Tammy Wynette was attacked or robbed there back in the 1970's?

By: SirKnight on 6/10/09 at 10:48

Your right, Lorenzo. I guess I was thinking of Tammy Wynette, then.

By: stonetennessee on 6/10/09 at 10:50

Sir Knight
Andrea Conte was kidnapped at a center on White Bridge Road, more than a short walk from Green Hills. DId she sue the shopping center for her pain and suffering? I think she appropriately cast her ire on the idiot that kidnapped her and then went on to kill a Lipscomb student.
Why do any of us, store owners or private property owners, owe anyone money for pain and suffering for something we did not cause? The sue and litigate way of life has driven up our cost of doing business as well as our cost to all consumers. As for rationalizing that insurance will pay for it, who do you think pays and contributes money for that payout? Last time I checked, the insurance companies cannot print money. That money comes from all of us who pay into a policy.

By: ACitizen on 6/10/09 at 11:01

I'm sure Mr DeMoss and his family are struggling to recover from an attack that could have well killed him. Considering how expensive health care is today, I suspect his medical bills are horrendous. He may even require continuous care for the rest of his life.

DeMoss' lawsuit is not frivilous. Dillard's does own the parking garage in which he was attacked. Perhaps more lighting and increased security would have prevented the attack. This will be settled out of court and he may get enough to take care of himself.

As for personal responsibility, the next time someone goes for a jog on a Metro Greenway and gets robbed and beaten, what will be said then about personal responsibility by the knee-jerk conservatives.

By: Darwin Pennyfeather on 6/10/09 at 11:32

On the surface, it is easy for those of you complaining. We live in a time where lawsuits fly for anything and everything. However, this is a very serious case where an elderly gentleman has every right to believe he is safe when utilizing a private parking area designated for a private business. I'd love to see the comments of the very same people complaining if you were blindsided from behind in the head repeatedly with a baseball bat, just feet from entering a place of business. Apparently this man almost died and is still not our of the woods entirely. He is BLIND people. He now must live the rest of his life paying for very expensive 24 hr care. I'm in the healthcare business and this is incredibly expensive. I can tell you that the amount of money that could come out of this, will never be what is requested and will almost surely not cover the costs of the care should he live a normal life expectancy. Seeing the ignorance of people just making knee-jerk reactions to a lawsuit, while understandable due to the wide ranging intelligence levels people posses and today's legal climate, it is somewhat distressing given what that family is now left with regarding their loved one. The very fact that that legal firm is involved should tell you something about the merit of this if you can't figure it out on your own by thinking it through with empathy. In my mind, there is also serious reason here to look into why that cowardly punk was back on the streets with his gang of gutless followers. The whole thing makes me sick.

By: typicalsutherner on 6/10/09 at 12:05

He just needs somebody to blame to make himself feel better. My guess is that this guy grew up in a trailer home in the middle of no where to not have the sense to know that crime can happen anywhere at anytime.

I've had my car broken into several times in parking lots, I guess I need to go back and sue those companies for not being one on one with my car while I was in their store. Bad things happen, stop punishing everybody around you when it does!

By: Funditto on 6/10/09 at 12:41

By: Lorenzo on 6/10/09 at 11:34

to SirKnight: Andrea Conte was kidnapped in the parking lot in front of her store which was located on White Bridge Rd.

Not to mention, this happened about 20 years ago.

By: ChickeringLife on 6/11/09 at 9:48

To 'STONETENNESSEE': A good example you used about Conte not suing owners of Paddock Place after the kidnapping incident. Thank you! And...on another note, I hope Green Hills Mall will always be available for (inside) mall walking, as I go there once a week for my walking routine. These lawsuits, I'm afraid, are going to make Green Hills Mall owners more nervous in the near future.

By: Barger on 6/22/09 at 10:01

I'm not a big fan of lawsuits either, but I am truly and sincerely appalled at the tone of these posts. Mr. DeMoss is blind, braindamaged and bankrupt. He will need care for the rest of his life. Even if you don't agree with the actions his family has taken, you could at least try to understand the predicament they are in. As for "typicalsutherner" (who I PRAY is not typical), you cannot equate the times your car was robbed with being beaten in the head with a baseball bat and left for dead. To insinuate that Mr. DeMoss "grew up in a trailer home in the middle of no where", as you state it, says a lot about your inaccurate and simple minded judgement of others. If the family is unable to recoup medical costs via the property owner who is liable under the law, then you, the taxpayer, could very well be paying for Mr. DeMoss' care for the rest of his life through a public facility. Would that make you all feel better?