Irving Lara v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, Domino’s Pizza, Inc., & Deutsche Bank National Trust Company

Wayne, Richard & Hurwitz LLP filed suit last week against Domino’s Pizza, LLC, Domino’s Pizza, Inc., and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company for the death of Richel Nova. The suit is filed on behalf of Irving Lara, the Administrator of Nova’s estate.

Richel Nova was murdered on the night of September 1, 2010 while delivering food to a house in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston. Nova worked delivering Domino’s food and was sent by himself to deliver to a house that had been abandoned for over two years. At the caller’s request, Domino’s instructed Nova to deliver food to the back of the house. Upon arrival, Nova was lured into the house, where he was allegedly robbed and stabbed to death by three suspects. The suspects are due to stand trial for Richel Nova’s murder.

In the Complaint, Lara alleges that Domino’s was negligent and is responsible for the wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering of Richel Nova. According to the Complaint, Domino’s placed Nova in a highly dangerous situation by sending him alone to deliver food to the back entrance of an abandoned house, while informing the orderer that Nova would be carrying cash.

In addition, Lara alleges that Deutsche Bank was negligent and is responsible for the wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering of Richel Nova. As holder of legal title to the abandoned property in question, Deutsche Bank had a duty to adequately secure the house to prevent trespassers and those who seek to use the premises for criminal activity. Deutsche Bank made no effort to secure a property that lay abandoned for over two years.

The following media outlets have also reported on the story:

Boston Globe
Boston Herald
Wall Street Journal
CBS Boston

Casinos and Happy Hour Regulations in Massachusetts

There has been much debate over whether Massachusetts should permit the establishment of casinos within the Commonwealth. In an interesting development, the Massachusetts Senate approved an amendment to the pending casino bill that would eliminate the famous (or infamous, as some would say) “happy hour regulations.”

Since 1984, the Massachusetts happy hour regulations have prohibited bars and restaurants from offering free or discounted drinks to their patrons. Specifically, the regulations require bars and restaurants to keep the price of a drink the same throughout the entire calendar week. Thus, no 5 p.m. discounts allowed, unless the bar or restaurant wants to charge the reduced price for the entire week. Bars and restaurants are also prohibited from altering the volume of your drink without proportionally altering the price.

The casino bill, if passed by the Massachusetts legislature, could change all of that. On Tuesday, October 11th, the Senate voted 25 to 13 to amend the pending casino bill. The amendment would essentially rid Massachusetts of the happy hour regulations for bars and restaurants, as well as casinos. The amendment must still be approved by the House and signed by the Governor into law.

The concept of the “free drink” is closely tied to casino gambling, presumably because it keeps gamblers motivated to continue gambling. Connecticut’s Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos have long offered free drinks to its customers. It is thought that if Massachusetts’ casinos are to compete, free drinks are a necessity.

However, if casinos are exempted from the happy hour regulations, many bar and restaurant owners are worried that they will not be able to compete. Thus, the amendment to the casino bill would eliminate the regulations for bars and restaurants and create a level playing field.

It also remains to be seen whether Massachusetts casinos will allow smoking. Connecticut law currently allows gamblers to smoke and Connecticut casinos have set up gambling rooms where smoking is permitted. There is no smoking amendments currently in front of the Legislature.