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Assault victim suing store owner

September 13, 2013
By BILL PITCHER , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - A city man who was assaulted outside Country Farms is suing the companies that own and operate the store, alleging they failed to help him while he was lying unconscious in the parking lot and took no reasonable measures to prevent criminal activity on the store's property.

Nathan Brooker filed the lawsuit Aug. 12 in state Supreme Court in Johnstown against Asaram Inc. of Saugus, Mass., which operates the convenience store and gas station, and Sohum & Shivam, the company from Ilion, Herkimer County, that owns the property. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages being sought.

"One of employees of the defendant[s] watched the assault over a period of several minutes and failed to take any steps to protect the plaintiff and ... allowed the plaintiff to remain motionless and unconscious in the parking lot without doing anything," the lawsuit says.

Brooker's family told The Leader-Herald he was jumped by four men in a fight over a debt on March 9. More than two months later, police charged a city man, Angel Alexis Cartagena, with misdemeanor counts of assault and reckless endangerment, saying he struck Brooker in the face, causing him to fall, hit his head and lose consciousness. Brooker's family said he suffered facial injuries, including a fractured eye socket.

Cartagena, who previously was convicted of a 2010 assault, was not named in the lawsuit. Fulton County Assistant District Attorney James Riley said Cartagena is undergoing a pre-plea investigation by the Probation Department and will return to City Court in mid-October.

The lawsuit says the companies that own and operate the store "were well aware of the existence on their premises and repeated patronage of multiple persons with significant violent criminal histories and significant histories of engaging in criminal behavior, including the buying and selling of street drugs, all of which occurred repeatedly on the defendant's premises."

Before Brooker was assaulted, "there were outward visible signs that the assailants posed a direct imminent danger to the store's patrons" but the defendants "failed to take reasonable measures" to prevent it, according to the lawsuit.

Brooker's attorney, Robert Abdella of Gloversville, did not return a telephone call or email seeking comment Thursday.

The companies named in Brooker's lawsuit could not be reached for comment.



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