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Home Depot facing civil suit after employee death

In late April, Home Depot's request to have an appellate court decision reconsidered was denied. The company is facing a lawsuit claiming that its negligence led to a pregnant employee's death. The woman was murdered by a supervisor at an offsite location. According to the lawsuit, the company knew that it was allowing a person with a history of harassing females to work as a supervisor.

The man who murdered the employee was sentenced in 2014 to two life terms for first-degree intentional homicide and third-degree sexual assault. The ruling by the 7th Circuit reversed a lower court decision that dismissed the case. That ruling held that Home Depot couldn't have known that the manager's verbal harassment of the victim would lead to her murder. Home Depot claimed that since the murder occurred offsite and did not involve company property, it wasn't liable under Illinois law.

The appellate court found that Home Depot knew about the behavior and even ordered the man to take anger management classes. However, the company never followed up to see if he actually took them. Therefore, it could be held vicariously liable for the murder. Furthermore, the company gave that manager power over the victim by enabling him to reduce the victim's hours or fire her.

The family members of those who are killed in a fatal accident may pursue a wrongful death suit if the death can be shown to be caused by another person or entity's negligence. The survivors could be awarded a variety of damages, including the reimbursement of funeral and burial expenses as well as compensation for the loss of the decedent's contributions to the household.

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