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Mother of man shot to death at Kroger files suit

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The mother of an Indianapolis man fatally shot in December by a Kroger manager during what police determined was an attempted robbery is suing the supermarket chain for wrongful death.

Toni Atkinson filed her lawsuit July 13 in federal court in Indianapolis on behalf of her son, Jeremi Atkinson, 26, who was shot at the Kroger store at 5025 W. 71st St. on Dec. 26.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office in early January ruled the shooting by Kroger manager Elijah “Levi” Elliott to be justified under Indiana law to prevent a forcible felony. Elliott, 24, resigned from Kroger about a month later.

The wrongful death suit charges that the Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. was negligent for failing to supervise its employees and enforce its safety policies, which prohibit employees from carrying firearms while on duty. Atkinson is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.

“As a direct and proximate result of Kroger’s negligence,” the suit says, “Atkinson is deceased and the plaintiff has suffered harm.”

The complaint acknowledges that an “altercation” occurred between Atkinson and a Kroger employees but makes no mention of the attempted robbery.

Police, who talked to witnesses and reviewed surveillance video, said Atkinson was shot after he forced an unarmed female security guard into the store’s office by putting an object in her back and placing her in a headlock. When Elliott responded to cries for help, Atkinson released the woman and charged at Elliott, who shot Atkinson.

Atkinson was wearing a mask and and a hoodie during the incident, but police did not say if was carrying a firearm. He was taken to Wishard Hospital in critical condition and died several hours later.

Kroger spokesman John Elliott said this week that the company was unaware of the lawsuit.

“Thus, our legal department has not had an opportunity to review the filing,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “Until we complete that internal review and possibly consult with additional legal counsel, which could be a lengthy process, we are not able to comment publicly on the suit.”

Atkinson was convicted in 2009 of armed robbery for holding up a Subway restaurant on North Keystone Avenue. He was sentenced to four years in prison and was let go on work release before a warrant was issued for his arrest in February 2011 for violating terms of his release, prosecutors said.

His mother is represented by Jon C. Abernathy of the Indianapolis law firm Goodin Abernathy LLP. Abernathy said he had no comment on the lawsuit.

Drew Miroff, a partner at Ice Miller LLP whose practice includes premises liability and risk management issues, said the case will be difficult to win.

“A violation of a company policy is not necessarily negligence,” he said. “They’re going to have to prove that there was a failure to supervise their employees by not enforcing the policy.”

 


 

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  • Denied
    http://wishtv.com/2014/05/23/judge-dismisses-suit-vs-kroger-over-robbery-death/
  • Going too far
    I'm normally one to point out that there are always two sides to every story, and things are often more complicated than can be summarized in a single news story. But this one seems pretty absurd from the outset. Unless the perp was shot in the back as he was running away, I can't see this case going anywhere. And even then ... Cases like this really infuriate me, too, because they make it harder for legitimately injured persons to get fair treatment. Instead, they give more ammo to those who are seeking "tort reform". I've been on both sides of the personal injury bar, and can tell you first hand the process is horribly slanted against the little guy/gal. For every extreme case like this that gets reported, there are thousdands of people getting run over by the insurance industry. Oh, FYI, the mother isn't asking for $75,000. That is the minimum amount of money that must be at issue before a Federal court can exercise jurisdiction over the caes.
  • Going too far
    I'm normally one to point out that there are always two sides to every story, and things are often more complicated than can be summarized in a single news story. But this one seems pretty absurd from the outset. Unless the perp was shot in the back as he was running away, I can't see this case going anywhere. And even then ... Cases like this really infuriate me, too, because they make it harder for legitimately injured persons to get fair treatment. Instead, they give more ammo to those who are seeking "tort reform". I've been on both sides of the personal injury bar, and can tell you first hand the process is horribly slanted against the little guy/gal. For every extreme case like this that gets reported, there are thousdands of people getting run over by the insurance industry. Oh, FYI, the mother isn't asking for $75,000. That is the minimum amount of money that must be at issue before a Federal court can exercise jurisdiction over the caes.
  • Pretty Sleazy Case
    Perhaps consider emailing Jon and let him know your opinion. Senseless case in my opinion and very bad advertising for GOODINABERNATHY.COM. I might understand if Jon was straight out of law school but I guess he needs case work and is grasping for anything. Very very poor taste for an attorney. His email address: jabernathy@goodinabernathy.com
  • Pretty Sleazy Case
    Perhaps consider emailing Jon and let him know your opinion. Senseless case in my opinion and very bad advertising for GOODINABERNATHY.COM. I might understand if Jon was straight out of law school but I guess he needs case work and is grasping for anything. Very very poor taste for an attorney. His email address: jabernathy@goodinabernathy.com
  • Morals? Guess Not.
    It is really a shame that this mother lost her son, but I believe she lost him long before this incident. And unfortunately our legal system failed too - her son was a repeat offender and yet here we are today reading about how the mentality of theft continues with this family. Not only should this lawsuit be dismissed, it NEVER should have been filed! It intrigues me that the mother was able to convince an attorney that this was a viable case. Granted the $75,000 being sought is not the largest judgement ever tried, but I would imagine as a parent that my childs life would be worth far greater than $75K, makes me wonder. All I can add is my "shame on you Toni and Jon for adding to our already overloaded court system with this lawsuit." Toni, I pray that you find peace for your loss, but this lawsuit is not the way to get it, your son made a decision that resulted in the loss of his life, the Kroger company and employees simply defended themselves against a criminal. And to Jon Abernathy, I pray for you as well, that you can search your conscience and determine where is the line between adding revenue to the company finances and doing what is right for the greater good of the community - this is not serving the greater good!
  • LOL
    This woman - and her "attorney" - are a joke! Get outta here with this crap! The guy DESERVED what he got, plain and simple.
  • Hyprocrasty in Legal System
    The Indianapolis legal community has the morals of a pimp. I'm a disabled veteran that can't find an attorney to go after a dentist that billed me and the Veterans Administration for the same work but somehow the mom of a strong arm criminal can sue Kroger. If this is the society I was wounded protecting, then we should just give up now.
  • Robbery Redux
    Negligent Mom Sues Kroger, Attempts Legal Theft An Indianpolis woman whose son was shot and killed during a robbery attempt of a Kroger store today attempted a second robbery of the store, this time by legal means. "He had a gun, but I've got me an attorney," the woman told the press. Asked if her negligent parenting skills had contributed to her son's death, the woman accused the questionar of blaming the victim. "If you prejudice the jury," she shouted, "I'll sue you too!" Asked for a comment, a Kroger spokesperson denied any negligence and said company policy was followed. "Company policy was indeed followed," he said. "We killed the little scumbag."
  • Robbery Redux
    Negligent Mom Sues Kroger, Attempts Legal Theft An Indianpolis woman whose son was shot and killed during a robbery attempt of a Kroger store today attempted a second robbery of the store, this time by legal means. "He had a gun, but I've got me an attorney," the woman told the press. Asked if her negligent parenting skills had contributed to her son's death, the woman accused the questionar of blaming the victim. "If you prejudice the jury," she shouted, "I'll sue you too!" Asked for a comment, a Kroger spokesperson denied any negligence and said company policy was followed. "Company policy was indeed followed," he said. "We killed the little scumbag."
  • Kroger Should Countersue
    They should sue her for bad parenting. Is she upset because he didn't bring any loot home to her!? People today. smh
  • Speak Out
    Jon C. Abernathy - Phone: 317.843.2606 http://www.goodinabernathy.com/contact/ Exercise your First Amendment rights, people, so people can be free to defend themselves and others.
  • Blood Suckers
    Goodin Abernathy is no better than Toni Atkinson for attempting this.
  • This is shameful
    This woman should be ashamed of herself. What has happened to people taking responsibility for their actions? Her son’s decision to break the law resulted in his death. The fault lies squarely at her son’s feet. Someone should file a lawsuit against her for being negligent and failing to supervise her child and instill morals, ethics and decency in her son… ‘As a direct result of Toni Atkinson’s negligence, her child is deceased and Levi Elliot is being dragged through the mud for standing up and saving someone.’ Goodin Abernathy LLP will not be getting any business or referrals from this law abiding citizen.
  • Watch This video, these robbers were lucky to live
    http://www.businessinsider.com/an-elderly-man-in-florida-charges-and-shoots-two-would-be-robbers-2012-7
  • If this flies, it is B.S.
    Any liberal Attorney who supports this case needs to print their support so I can make sure to NEVER use them for anything. Any judge/court allowing this better be appointed because I would not vote for them ever again. This perp and his perp family are the reason I a law abiding citizen keep losing my rights and our constitution is not worth the paper it was written on. Goodin as an attorney you should be ashamed of yourself to be soooooo money grubbing to even wasnt to file this suit.
  • Good riddance/poor parenting
    There is nothing I can add that hasn't been said well already. I can only echo those thoughts and opinions. Just take a moment to look at the comments. Never before have I seen such uniformity and unanimity on such an issue. The decisive conclusion is that this woman is the absolute lowest common denominator of human existence. The real bottom of the barrel. I have now spent the last hour of my work day talking about this because I cannot believe the lunacy. This woman thinks that Kroger, in some way, is responsible for her son's death. Toni: you need to look yourself in the mirror and release this: the only people responsible for your son's death are YOUR SON and YOU! Your son for being a menace to society who clearly was incapable of living with the rest of humanity or simply learning a lesson. There is nothing more ignorant than someone committing a crime, going to prison, and then committing the same crime AGAIN! How stupid must you be? And Mama Toni: YOU raised this scum and unleashed him on the rest of us. Your lack of ability as a parent is directly responsible for his lack of ability function in society or make an honest living. I work too damn hard to let people like you sit on your couch in the A/C watching daytime TV for the rest of your life. I am ashamed for you and the fraud you are trying to unleash on all of us. I hope you and everyone like you or helping you gets what they deserve: nothing!
  • Black List
    Take this story for what it is: a recommendation to never use Goodin Abernathy LLP for your legal services. Thank you IBJ, I will comply. The tens of thousands of dollars I spend every year on legal representation for my companies will go elsewhere.
    • I Volunteer
      I volunteer to take off from work to do my civic duty and be on this jury. I won't have any preconceived notions like asking the judge to force the mother to pay all the court costs and each person who has to sit through this for their time and energy. I certainly wouldn't ask the judge to file whatever papers are needed to remove this attorney's license to practice law. Please please pick me.
    • Crappy Mothers Should Keep Their Knees Together
      I'm so sick of parents who want to point the fingers at everyone and never pause to look in the mirror. It's 100% her fault (and the most-likely absent father) for raising a criminal. Shame on her and more shame on the greedy attorney that took the case. Her legal fees will probably be paid with welfare checks or food stamps that I'm paying for!
    • AGREED
      WOW, another opportunistic, lazy, looser, who prefers not to work for a living. Obviously her idiot son made that choice too. This is a mom's ploy to either not work or continue not working. Maybe if she would have done a better job raising her deliquent brat, he would not be dead now. If someone comes into my house or job, and appears armed, and threatens to hurt someone, I would shot them too! Let's all start using our heads, including the young people.
    • So TRUE!
      Thank you! Sounds like the kid got what was coming to him. Live by the sword, die by the sword. I say protect the innocent! Protect the store manager who acted in self defense, rescued the security guard and now has no job.
    • What?
      The apple didn't fall far from that tree apparently
    • Sad Story
      Her son's robberies may have been her only source of income. If a cop had shot him, it would have been justified, probably. Some judge will probably botch this decision.
    • This is what is wrong with the world
      The Security Guard should sue the mother for neglecting her duty as a parent to teach her son the difference between right and wrong.
      • I don't think he will do it again!
        If every one who tried to hold people up where shot I guess the world would be a better place to live in. I feel sure that the criminals disagree.
      • What a joke!
        The judge needs to wait until the trial date and then dismiss this lawsuit after forcing Toni Atkinson to spend the rest of her life paying the legal fees that Kroger accrued while preparing for this ridiculous lawsuit.
        • What a line of crap
          Let me get this right! A convicted felon for robbery tries to do another robbery and the manager protects himself along with a security guard and Krogers get sued. Oh please. Where was his mother at while he was out being a menace to society on numerous occasions. Obviously she did'nt teach him when he was younger that u have to work to get what's yours. The manager and security guard should be suing her for his misconduct. But I guess it's like mother like son cause now she's trying to get money for free!
        • Dismiss the Suit
          (1) Dismiss the Suit IMMEDIATLY (2) Disbar the attorney who took on the case (3) Throw the judge off the bench if he doesn't throw the case out. That may stop the stupid people from filing stupid lawsuits in an attempt to make easy money.
        • Reject it
          This suit should be thrown out immediately, and the person filing it should be charged for the court's costs in dealing with it.
        • robbery
          Here is a criminal that was let out of prision for a like crime just a few years earlier. Would his mom be suing had he killed someone . He got what he wanted
        • are you kidding?
          What a waste of time this lawsuit is. Too bad her son got killed but he brought it on himself.

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