Stabbing victim loses case against assailant's employer

David Yates May 20, 2009, 7:37am

A Jefferson County jury has found that a company is not responsible for the extracurricular activities of one its employees, who in his spare time robbed a man at knife point.

The trial Raphael Ruffin of vs. Steinhagen Oil et al began in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court on May 12 and ended three days later with a not negligent in favor of defendant International Catastrophe Solutions.

Raphael Ruffin, who was assaulted at knife point and sued his assailant's employer, filed suit against Steinhagen Oil and International Catastrophe Solutions in 2006, alleging each respective company had the power and responsibility to stop his attacker.

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.

During the trial, Ruffin and his attorneys argued International Catastrophe negligently hired the assailant and failed to perform a background check.

Ruffin had asked jurors to award him damages for his assumed mental anguish and pain.

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

International Catastrophe was represented by attorney Thomas W. Duesler.

Case No. A175-878

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