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Shot worker can recover judgment from State Farm: Court

Shot worker

A federal court has determined that a former Alabama convenience store employee shot while walking to his vehicle after his shift ended can recover damages from his employer’s insurer.  

In a Monday decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama ruled State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. must indemnify owners of the Pit Stop Grocery in Birmingham after employee Amanali Babwari was shot numerous times in the parking lot on Oct. 10, 2016.

Mr. Babwari obtained a consent judgment against his former employer in state court after claiming the owners’ failure to implement proper security measures led to his attack. In his suit, Mr. Babwari argued the employers were negligent when they failed to hire a second employee during the night shift and that a failure to fix a streetlight in the parking lot also contributed to the attack.

Mr. Babwari later went to federal court seeking to force State Farm to satisfy the $877,659.66 state court judgment entered against the employer. The insurer had argued that the parking lot gunshot injuries were not covered by the business’s liability policy.

The federal court ruled that State Farm failed to demonstrate any exclusions applied in the policy, and it ordered the insurer to indemnify the store owners for the underlying judgment awarded to Mr. Babwari.  

The tort action was permitted because under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation law, incidents that occur while an employee is traveling to or from work does not constitute an injury arising out of and in the course of employment.