Vincent J. DeSalvo, Attorney at Law
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Lawsuit filed against parents and hotel in man's beating death

In 2016, four teenagers conspired to beat and rob a 56-year-old Louisiana man as he stayed in a Motel 6.

The teens got $60 for their trouble. Their victim died from brain injuries.

The criminal trials are now over, but the next stage of legal trials are about to begin as members of the victim's immediate family begin the process of filing civil suits against the parents of the teenagers involved and the Motel 6 chain that rented both the victim and the teens a room on that fateful night.

The personal injury suits claim that the parents of the teens who inflicted the fatal beating were guilty of negligent supervision. Essentially, the allegation means that they could have prevented the incident by paying closer attention to what their children were doing and enforcing better discipline.

The lawsuit against the motel chain seeks to hold the defendant responsible for not ensuring a reasonably safe atmosphere for guests through premises liability laws. In order to be successful, the plaintiffs will have to establish that the motel's management either knew or should have known that the teens were unsupervised and posed a threat to other guests.

While these theories might sound unusual, they really aren't. When someone suffers a serious injury or violent attack, it's common to look underneath the surface facts to see who, aside from the key players, might be held responsible for the losses suffered by the victim or his or her survivors.

In this situation, since the injuries were inflicted by teenagers without assets or insurance, there's no point in pursuing them for any financial compensation. A good personal injury attorney, however, will look to see if there is negligence on the part of other defendants with more peripheral roles in the case.

For example, in this case, parents are generally expected to exercise a certain amount of control over their children. Dropping them off for an unsupervised party at the motel could be considered an act of negligence. Motel managers are expected to take steps to ensure the safety of their guests, so allowing teenagers to rove around the property without supervision could be considered negligence as well.

Only time will tell, of course, whether or not either claim is successful — although both appear to have fairly solid legal footing.

Source: www.thetowntalk.com, "Lawsuit seeks to hold parents responsible for Alexandria beating death," Melissa Gregory, Dec. 13, 2017

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