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Jose Ramos & CVS Assault Case from a Legal Standpoint

In the past month, news broke that Jose Ramos, a loss prevention agent at CVS, used his position to sexually assault at least four women ranging from the ages of 16 to 28. The incidents occurred in multiple Brooklyn CVS locations, including Kensington and Bensonhurst.

Ramos allegedly ordered suspected shoplifters into private rooms in at least 2 CVS locations. Once he had them alone, he told them to take nude photos in exchange for his not turning them over to the police. He allegedly groped his victims before having them sign a phony non-disclosure agreement stating that if they reported him to the police, they would be arrested themselves for shoplifting.

This is an egregious crime and we are greatly angered by Ramos' assault of his victims. In light of these dismaying accounts, we must also consider CVS's negligence in failing to protect those who enter their stores.

When brick-and-mortar stores invite people in for profit, the law makes them accountable for customers' safety. In particular, highly-recognized companies such as CVS where you buy anything from headphones to groceries to medicine are considered safe places to shop for millions of consumers across the country. With over 9,700 CVS Pharmacy store locations in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Brazil, CVS was ranked the 7th largest US corporation by Fortune in 2016.

Since these assaults reportedly occurred at various CVS locations and to at least four victims, Ramos' sexual assaults were by no means a one-time aberration. One of the more horrifying aspects of the case is that Ramos was employed in security - a position where he was expected to protect and not prey on potential customers. There exists in this a failure on the part of CVS to properly train and supervise their employee.

The Law Firm of Block O'Toole & Murphy is representing two 16-year-old victims assaulted by Ramos in a case against CVS for their negligence. In this particular incident, we know that Ramos was alone in a room "detaining" two teenage girls for well over an hour. It was CVS' fault for either not having a policy in place to protect against this or it was their fault for not properly disseminating and ensuring compliance with the policy that should have prevented this. Either way, the end result was that CVS did not do enough to ensure the safety of these teen girls.

Since this is a recurring crime, CVS can't avail themselves of the defense that is often invoked by corporate entities when one of their employees is guilty of criminal misconduct: the aberrational conduct. In layman's terms, this is usually regarded as the "How were we supposed to know?" defense in which the corporation tries to absolve themselves of responsibility by saying that the defendant has not done anything like this before. In this case, it happened in different locations to multiple victims.

Additionally, these incidents highlight the necessity of a policy in stores that prohibits a male employee from detaining female patrons - especially underage female patrons - in a closed room without a female employee present. This is the reason why police departments require that female officers search female prisoners. Additionally, many doctors have a female staff member present if a female patient is required to disrobe for examination.

At Block O'Toole & Murphy, we fight on behalf of those who were harmed as a result of another party's negligence. If you've been a victim or you know someone who's been a victim of negligence in brick-and-mortar retail stores, please feel free to contact us for a legal consultation. Simply call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form.