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The owner of a taxi cab company has been released from personal liability in the 2010 wrongful death lawsuit of a 12-year-old boy. The lawsuit, filed by the child’s mother alleged that the owner hired the cab driver knowing the man was a convicted sex offender. According to the investigation, the boy was lured away from a friend’s home by text messages he thought were from a young girl. Those messages were actually from a convicted sex offender who was a cab driver. After picking up the boy, the driver killed him and left the body in a wooded area.

The cab driver had at least fourteen prior arrests, including two sex-related offenses. The plaintiff claimed the taxi cab owner had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the selection of an employee who would have direct access to and contact with the public giving him ample opportunities to continue to prey upon innocent people.

Citing prior cases, a three-panel judge recently said that the boy’s tragic death fell outside the scope of the owner’s duty or reasonable care in hiring drivers. Isn’t he the one that hired the sex offender? Isn't he the one who conducted the background check?

Although Justin's family may not seek justice, his murder will help prevent similar tragedies in the future. The Justin M. Bloxom Act was signed in July 2010 that restricts employment to registered sex offenders and strengthens the ability of law enforcement and the court system to get tougher with sex offenders. The bill prohibits convicted sex offenders from driving taxis, buses, and limousine. I commend Senator Sherri Cheek and State Rep Richard Burford for introducing this bill and Governor Bobby Jindal for signing it. The new law has an effective date of Aug. 15, 2010, meaning previously registered sex offenders will not fall under the requirements.

Lawsuit Financial wishes to remind all parents that the dangers are out there. Play an active role in protecting our children by talking to your kids. Reporting sexual misconduct is the best way to bring a predator to justice and prevent him/her from harming others.

Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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