April Goodwin, Tiffany Randolph and Javon Washington, Appellants (Respondents below),
Yeakle's Sports Bar and Grill, Inc. Appellee (Petitioner below).
from the Grant Superior Court I, No. 27D01-1105-CT-400 The
Honorable Jeffrey D. Todd, Judge
Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No.
Attorney for Appellants Joe Keith Lewis Marion, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee James J. Shea, Sr. Timothy W. DeGroote
Andrew S. Williams Fort Wayne, Indiana
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana
Lucy R. Dollens Jacob V. Bradley Quarles & Brady LLP
Indianapolis, Indiana Donald B. Kite, Sr. Wuertz Law Office,
LLC Indianapolis, Indiana
injured after a shooting in a neighborhood bar sued the bar
for negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment in
the bar's favor concluding it owed no duty to the patrons
because the shooting was not foreseeable as a matter of law.
For the reasons that follow we agree and affirm.
and Procedural History
summary judgment action, the undisputed facts most favorable
to the non-moving party are these. During the late evening
hours of August 27 and the early morning hours of August 28,
2010, April Goodwin, Tiffany Randolph, and Javon Washington
(collectively "Plaintiffs") were seated at a table,
socializing with friends at Yeakle's Sports Bar and
Grill, a small establishment in Marion, Indiana (hereafter
"the Bar"). Another patron, Rodney Carter, was
seated nearby with his wife. At some point Carter thought he
heard Washington make a derogatory remark about Carter's
wife. This angered Carter who produced a handgun and fired at
Washington. He struck Washington and accidently struck
Goodwin and Randolph as well. All three shooting victims
survived; and Carter later pleaded guilty to three counts of
battery with a deadly weapon.
filed a complaint for damages against the Bar alleging
negligence in "failing to provide security for its
patrons; . . . failing to search Rodney Carter for weapons; .
. . [and] failing to warn [P]laintiffs that Rodney Carter was
armed and dangerous." App. at 15. After the parties
conducted discovery the Bar moved for summary judgment
arguing Carter's criminal acts were unforeseeable and
thus the Bar had no duty to anticipate and take steps to
prevent Carter's conduct. After a hearing the trial court
agreed and entered summary judgment in the Bar's favor.
On review the Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the
trial court and remanded this cause for further proceedings.
In so doing the Court declared, "reasonable
foreseeability is not part of the analysis with respect to
the Bar's duty" and noted this is "an issue
that has created confusion at every level of our
judiciary." Goodwin v. Yeakle's Sports Bar and
Grill, Inc., 28 N.E.3d 310, 311 (Ind.Ct.App.
2015). Endeavoring to clarify the confusion, and
having previously granted transfer, we now affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
reviewing a grant or denial of a motion for summary judgment
our well-settled standard of review is the same as it is for
the trial court: whether there is a genuine issue of material
fact, and whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Wagner v. Yates, 912 N.E.2d 805,
808 (Ind. 2009). The party moving for summary judgment has
the burden of making a prima facie showing that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Reed v.
Reid, 980 N.E.2d 277, 285 (Ind. 2012). Once these two
requirements are met by the moving party, the burden then
shifts to the non-moving party to show the existence of a
genuine issue by setting forth specifically designated facts.
Id Any doubt as to any facts or inferences to be
drawn therefrom must be resolved in favor of the non-moving
party. Id. Summary judgment should be granted only
if the evidence sanctioned by Indiana Trial Rule 56(C) shows
there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the
moving party deserves judgment as a matter of law.
Freidline v. Shelby Ins. Co., 774 N.E.2d 37, 39
prevail on a claim of negligence the plaintiff must show: (1)
duty owed to plaintiff by defendant; (2) breach of duty by
allowing conduct to fall below the applicable standard of
care; and (3) compensable injury proximately caused by
defendant's breach of duty." King v. Ne. Sec,
Inc., 790 N.E.2d 474, 484 (Ind. 2003); accord Ford
Motor Co. v. Rushford, 868 N.E.2d 806, 810 (Ind. 2007).
Absent a duty there can be no negligence or liability based
upon the breach. Peters v. Forster, 804 N.E.2d 736,
738 (Ind. 2004). Whether a duty exists is a question of law
for the court to decide. Id
period of at least over the past two decades or so our case
law has been less than perfectly lucid in explaining how a
court determines whether a duty exists in the context of a
negligence claim. This journey began with Webb v.
Jarvis, 575 N.E.2d 992 (Ind. 1991). In that case,
deciding whether a doctor owed a duty to a third party
injured by the doctor's patient, we held that in order to
determine whether a duty exists we employ a three-part
balancing test: (1) the relationship between the parties; (2)
the foreseeability of harm; and (3) public policy concerns.
Id. at 995-97. This Court has periodically used this
balancing test in analyzing the existence of duty in certain
in a trilogy of opinions handed down together, and with only
limited fidelity paid to the three-part Webb
balancing test, this Court held that in analyzing whether a
landowner owes an invitee a duty to take reasonable care to
protect the invitee from foreseeable third-party criminal
attacks, we consider the totality of the circumstances.
L.W. v. W. Golf Ass'n, 712 N.E.2d 983, 984-85
(Ind. 1999); Vernon v. Kroger Co., 712 N.E.2d 976,
979 (Ind. 1999); and Delta Tau Delta v. Johnson, 712
N.E.2d 968, 973 (Ind. 1999). This analysis included looking
to "all of the circumstances ...