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  1. Starbucks Corporation.


    1. Review the Case 31.2 found on page 555 entitled Martin v. McDonald’s Corporation. Using IRAC, how should this case have been decided and why? 2. Review the Critical Legal Thinking Case found on page 440 entitled Massey v. Starbucks Corporation. Using IRAC, how should this case have been decided and why? 


Subject Business Pages 5 Style APA


Review of Past Court Cases

Martin v. McDonald’s Corporation


On November 29, 1979, six women were working to clean up the Oak Forest Illinois McDonald’s restaurant after closing hours. A man, Peter Logan, appeared from the back of the restaurant and ordered the employees into a refrigerator. He ordered the assistant manager to open the safe and give him money. While moving them to the refrigerator, one of the employees, Laura Martin, was shot and killed while Maureen Kincaid and Therese Dudek were assaulted by the assailant. McDonald’s restaurant had earlier on acknowledged the peril of armed robbery and formed a branch of its corporation commissioned to handle security problems. It also developed a bible for security procedures. The parents of Laura Martin petitioned for damages from McDonald’s Corporation for the wrongful death of their daughter. Therese Dudek and Maureen Kincaid petitioned for damages for the negligent infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted damages to all three victims.


The Appellate Court of Illinois was tasked with deciding whether or not McDonald’s Corporation negligently performed its duty to offer protection to the six women.


From Nelson v. Union Wire Rope Corp. (1964), case law dictates that when a person undertakes a voluntary duty, negligent performance of the same may result in liability (Hebert, 1974)


The defendant assumed the role of care for the plaintiffs when it willingly acknowledged the peril of armed robbery and formed a branch of its corporation commissioned to handle security problems. The role was also assumed when the defendant developed a bible for security procedures. The bible of security procedures required that the backdoor not be used to dispose of garbage or go out after dark. The defendant negligently performed this assumed role since the managers never checked to ensure the backdoor was not being used after dark yet the robber used the backdoor during the robbery. Also, testimonies from employees indicated that they had never received a security handbook or been instructed not to use the backdoor after dark. Furthermore, there were no warning signs on the backdoor to remind employees of the same.


There was ample evidence to suggest that McDonald’s Corporation had breached its assumed duty of care and protection. Thus, compensation for damages to the plaintiffs should have been the decision of this case.

Massey v. Starbucks Corporation


On February 18, 2003, Kenya Massey and Raymond Rodriquez, went into a Starbucks store on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. It was in the evening towards the closing time of the store. The two ordered two beverages, paid for them and went towards the seating area waiting for them to be prepared. The shift supervisor informed Massey that she could not sit as they were about to close the store. Massey asked what time the store closed and realized that there was still eight minutes to the closing time. The shift supervisor told the employee preparing the drinks to cancel the order and refund Massey’s money. A wordy confrontation ensued between Massey and one of the employees who told her that she gets off work at ten o’clock and they could go outside and settle the matter. As the couple leaves the premises, two employees hold the door for them to leave. Walking away, Massey and the employees keep yelling profanities at each other. The employees are annoyed and they run after Massey and a physical altercation occurs. Massey is assaulted in the process as her face is bleeding. Massey pressed charges against the employees and the Starbucks store. The court finds the employees guilty but the Starbucks store is not liable.        


The court was tasked with determining whether or not Starbucks employees were acting within the scope of their employment when they assaulted Massey.


Case law obtained from Pizzuto v. County of Nassau, (2003) dictates that a master is held responsible for the actions of the servant if the servant was acting within the scope of employment.


The employees were not motivated by a desire to close the store (which is part of their job description) when they ran after Massey and assaulted her. Their role as employees ended when they held the door open for Massey to leave. Whatever they did past that was out of their own volition and not in response to the employment contract they had with the defendant.


The employees acted out of their scope of employment in assaulting Massey. Thus, no compensation from the defendant to Massey was necessary. 




Hebert, M. (1974). Workmen’s Compensation Insurers-A Duty to Inspect?. Louisiana Law Review34(4), 11.

Martin v. McDonald’s Corp., 213 Ill. App. 3d 487, 572 N.E.2d 1073 (Ill. App. Ct. 1991)

Massey v. Starbucks Corp., No. 03 Civ. 7279 (SAS) (S.D.N.Y. Jul. 9, 2004)




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