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Spring Break Stabbing Leads to Coca-Cola Suit

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on December 07, 2012 3:51 AM

Spring Break on South Padre Island is supposed to be a good time. But when a party at "Coca-Cola Beach" got out of hand, it turned into a lawsuit.

Derek Madrigal was attending the spring break party sponsored by Coca-Cola when he noticed a group of men being rude to a young woman. He stepped in and asked the men to stop, but when he did the group turned on him.

The group surrounded Madrigal, beat him with cooler covers, and stabbed him nine times during the party in March. For his injuries, he's now going after Coca-Cola.

It turns out the group that attacked Madrigal were members of a prison gang called the Texas Mexican Mafia, reports Courthouse News Service.

Madrigal claims Coca-Cola, the party's sponsor, should have provided better security for the people invited and done more to keep gang members out. He's also suing Isla Grand Beach Resort for failing to do anything about the men who were harassing guests prior to the attack.

No security personnel were around to assist Madrigal during the attack, but several party-goers took videos to document what happened. From thse videos, police were able to identify the attackers.

The claims against the defendants are for negligence and premises liability.

The issue of premises liability generally depends on what kind of relationship the plaintiff had to the defendant. Since this was a spring break party which Madrigal presumably had to pay for, he would likely be considered an invitee -- someone on the premises for business reasons.

Property owners have a duty to keep invitees safe from dangers, either by fixing the situation or posting warning signs. They also have an ongoing duty to inspect the premises for new issues.

Madrigal's claim is that Coca-Cola's duties included a responsibility to kick out aggressive or hostile people who were threatening the safety of others. Whether that applies to the party's sponsor will be determined by the court.

Not sure if you're responsible for an injury that happened to a guest at your house? Ask our community of legal contributors at the FindLaw Answers Accidents & Injuries Forum. You will typically get a response to your question within 48 hours.

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