Home Depot May Be Pulled Back Into a Lawsuit Over an Employee's Grisly Murder
The mother of a pregnant woman who was murdered and then sexually assaulted by her former manager sued Home Depot and Grand Flower Growers Inc, one of the retail giant's flower suppliers, in 2014. In April 2016 the lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge in Illinois, but the Federal Seventh Circuit is now questioning the district court’s ruling that the employer couldn't have known the killing would take place.
Alisha Bromfield, 21, who was seven months pregnant, was strangled to death and then raped in August 2012 by her manager, 37-year-old Brian Cooper, while attending a wedding in Door County, Wisconsin.
Bromfield's mother, Sherry Anicich, claims that Bromfield's employer ignored multiple complaints from her daughter that Cooper repeatedly harassed her with demeaning language, calling her a "slut" and a "whore" in front of customers. Anicich's lawsuit also contends that Home Depot ignored previous violent behavior from Cooper, as well as similar incidents of harassment against other female employees.
Cooper invited Bromfield to the wedding at which she was murdered, threatening to fire her if she didn't attend. Law360 reports that Home Depot's lawyer, Benjamin Galloway, argued that the company couldn't be held responsible for a murder that happened miles away from the store. All three judges shot back at Galloway's assertion. “Are you blaming her for going on the trip?" asked Circuit Judge David Hamilton “She’s an employee. Her boss is going to fire her if she doesn’t do this.”
Cooper is currently serving two consecutive life sentences without parole for the murder of Bromfield and her unborn child, and an additional two years for the rape.