By Thomas J. Sheeran
CLEVELAND: The estate of a woman fatally shot by her estranged husband along with their two daughters has sued a Cleveland-area Cracker Barrel restaurant, alleging it failed to protect them from him.
The lawsuit was filed late Thursday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court by the brother of Katherina Allen, who was shot on April 12, 2012, at the restaurant in nearby Brooklyn, Ohio.
The lawsuit seeks more than $125,000 in damages. It said the restaurant failed to properly train employees to handle a volatile situation.
The company had a duty to customers to take precautions to protect them “from known and foreseeable third-party criminal acts on its premises,” according to the lawsuit, which said Cracker Barrel had failed to do so.
Kevin Allen, 51, angrily confronted his 42-year-old wife at the restaurant and left, then returned and began shooting. Responding officers killed him.
While the Lebanon, Tenn.-based company cannot comment on the lawsuit, spokeswoman Jeanne Ludington said in an email, “We believe that in times of difficulty, families and communities come together and we are grateful to the Brooklyn community for their continued support and acts of kindness.”
Katherina Allen called 911 from inside the restaurant, saying her husband was upset because she had told him she was leaving him.
He left the restaurant and was circling the parking lot, she told police. She also told police she feared he might become violent.
“I’m having some spouse problems,” Katherina Allen told the dispatcher in the 911 call before her husband went back inside.
Police records dating back nearly 20 years painted a picture of Kevin Allen, married at least three times, as a violent man with a history of threatening wives and others.