Torts Keyed to Dobbs
Peters v. Menard, Inc.
Menard’s store security officer Wright observed Peters take a power drill out of the store and put it in his car without paying for it. Wright followed Peters out to his car and asked him to get out for questioning. Peters fled on foot and Wright and another officer named Kind pursued him on foot. Peters ran into the flooded La Crosse River and the fast-moving current pulled him under, drowning him. Peters’ estate and family brought a wrongful death suit against the store, Defendant Menards, Inc. The Wisconsin Supreme Court found that Peters’ conduct was more unreasonable than the store’s, barring plaintiff’s recovery under Wisconsin law. Although not the deciding factor, the court also discussed whether a Wisconsin store can be immune from liability for actions taken by security officers in pursuing suspects off-premises, which is the primary purpose of this case study in the textbook.
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