Stabbing victim takes case against assailant's employer to trial in Jefferson County

David Yates May 13, 2009, 3:00pm

The trial over a man who was assaulted at knife point and sued his assailant's employer is now underway.

Raphael Ruffin filed suit against Steinhagen Oil and International Catastrophe Solutions in 2006, alleging each respective company had the power and responsibility to stop his attacker.

The trial of Ruffin vs. International Catastrophe began in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court on May 12 after the defendant was severed from the original suit.

According to court documents, on Oct. 8, 2005, Ruffin was a customer at Shell gas station near Walden Road, when he was assaulted by a man with a knife.

In his suit, Ruffin alleges prior to his assault, the assailant had told the gas station's employees that he intended to rob someone, putting the Steinhagen Oil employees on notice.

"However, defendant employees did not take any action and as such breached its duty to care toward plaintiff," the suit states.

Although the suit does not state the name of the assailant, it does allege he was an International Catastrophe employee.

Ruffin and his attorneys will spend the next several days arguing International Catastrophe negligently hired the assailant and failed to perform a background check.

Ruffin is asking jurors to award him damages for his assumed mental anguish and pain.

He is represented by John Werner, a Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm attorney.

Case No. A175-878

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