On August 19, 2019, Ce’Marlo Fletcher returned from work to find that his newly purchased PlayStation 4 had been stolen. It was stolen because his property owner never fixed the door to the room he rented in a four-bedroom house. Two weeks earlier, the door had become unhinged such that he had to prop the door to his room up against his wall – leaving his personal belongings exposed to other residents and their guests.
Ce’Marlo alerted the property manager (who resided on property) about the theft and requested his rent money back. The property manager, who had been drinking heavily that evening, refused and became angry. The property manager then grabbed a knife and stabbed Ce’Marlo. The knife pierced the rib cage and went straight into Ce’Marlo’s heart. After stabbing him, the property manager ran and hid in the attic of an empty house. Ce’Marlo passed away from his injuries a few hours later. On April 1, 2021, the property manager was convicted of murder in the Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Columbus, Ohio, Case No. 19CR-4125.
Atlanta personal injury attorney Bryan Baer at The Baer Law Firm, with the assistance of local Columbus, Ohio lawyer Sean Walton, have filed suit against the property owner. According to the Complaint filed on July 30, 2021, the property owner owed a duty to keep the premises is good repair. That duty included providing Ce’Marlo with a working door that he could close and lock. The property owner also had an obligation to train its employees to handle conflict and to screen employees for criminal and violent histories. The case is S. Brewster Randall, II, et. al v. 39 North Ltd., et al., in the Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Ohio, Case No. 21CV004851.
“What happened to Ce’Marlo is a tragedy for himself, his family, and all that knew and loved him. Ce’Marlo was an incredibly gifted young man who was an extraordinary musician and had a dream of becoming a chef.”
Property owners are not legally liable for every violent or criminal attack causing personal injuries or death committed by an employee on the job. In order for a property owner to be legally responsible for another’s personal injuries or wrongful death, the attack must arise out of the course and scope of the employee’s job duties, or the employer must be negligent in hiring, training, or retaining the employee. The Baer Law Firm looks forward to critically examining the relationship between the property owner and the man who stabbed Ce’Marlo in the course of the lawsuit.