A growing trend in the American cityscape is workers at dollar store and drugstore chains getting assaulted and murdered during robbery attempts. These have resulted in several personal injury and wrongful death actions alleging that the chain stores don’t provide adequate security for their workers.
Just recently, an 18-year-old was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 32-year-old Olga Marie Calderon. She was on her shift at a Walgreens when 18-year-old Sincere Williams tried to rob the store with a knife.
Police say that Williams grabbed Calderon from behind by the neck as she was stocking shelves. She attempted to push him away, and Williams began stabbing her. By the time medics arrived at the scene, Calderon was already dead.
After the Stabbing
Police could not find any evidence that anything was taken from the store. However, Williams attempted to ditch the knife and some blood-stained clothing in a nearby backyard where they were later found by police.
While there were no witnesses to the event, police were able to use video surveillance footage to track Williams back to his apartment two miles away.
Police believe Williams committed two other robberies — one at the same Walgreens where Olga Marie Calderon lost her life. Calderon was the mother of an 11-year-old and a 3-year-old.
Walgreens and Issues of Liability
While Sincere Williams will face first-degree murder charges and likely end up behind bars for the rest of his life, there is growing concern that drug stores, dollar stores, and convenience stores do not do enough to keep their employees safe.
In one case, a man filed a lawsuit against a notable dollar chain after he was attacked three times in one year. Wrongful death lawsuits against these types of stores, however, are rare due to state requirements for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation precludes a personal injury lawsuit. When workers are killed on the job, their families are generally entitled to death benefits.
Nonetheless, these lawsuits are an important way to ensure that these stores are doing their part to keep their employees safe. This includes hiring more security to police the premises and prevent their workers from being on the front line.
Whether or not the Calderon family can file a lawsuit against Walgreens depends heavily on Illinois requirements to carry workers’ compensation. Walgreens, as a major employer, would be required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
In situations like this, it is common for the employer to issue a statement that says that they are fully committed to the wellbeing and safety of their employees and customers but do not otherwise comment on pending litigation.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are being charged with a serious crime in the Chicago area, call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to set up an appointment and learn more about how we can help.