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Making Business the Scapegoat

I think what happened to Elizabeth Garcia is terrible, and I truly feel for her children who have had their mother taken from them in such a brutal way. However, I don’t understand how a business is held accountable for the actions of a criminal:

Jury deliberations in the case began Monday. Minutes before the jury was to award Elizabeth Garcia’s three children $51 million in damages, Ortiz told jurors the parties had reached a settlement.

Allegra Carpenter, an attorney representing the children—Xavier Mendoza, 13; Jerome Mendoza, 11; and Cene Mendoza, 10—said the terms of the settlement are confidential.

Garcia was working alone overnight in January 2002 when she was abducted from the Hobbs store and later found dead, with more than 55 stab wounds. According to the lawsuit, she had been raped.

Attorneys for Garcia’s family said Allsup’s failure to protect clerks working the graveyard shift make the near-minimum-wage jobs the most dangerous in New Mexico. They had asked the jury to award $60 million in damages.

The criminal in this case went on to do this again:

Paul Lovett, 27, was accused of killing Elizabeth Garcia, 26, in January 2002, and Patty Simon, 35, in May 2003. He was convicted last month of first-degree murder in both cases and of criminal sexual penetration in the Simon case.

Allsup is a convenient scapegoat for society’s anger against the criminal element, but I just don’t understand how we can hold a business responsible for a criminal’s actions. The attorney for the children in this case argued that this all could have been prevented if there had only been two clerks on duty instead of one. You don’t have to search far to know that is not the case. Predators will commit crimes and holding a business responsible is just wrong.