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Dunkle v. Food Service East

Pennsylvania Supreme Court
582 A.2d 1342 (1990)


Facts

Bruce Tindal (codefendant) thought his live-in girlfriend Senie Dunkle Eyer was a Russian spy and strangled her to death in the men’s room at a shopping mall. The previous year, Tindal had been seeing a psychiatrist for schizophreniform disorder. When the psychiatrist discontinued regular medication, Tindal became “nasty” and “violent,” and the psychiatrist put him back on regular dosing. But ultimately the psychiatrist told Tindal to take his medication only as needed and discharged him, while a university counselor continued treatment. The administrator of Eyer’s estate, Steven Dunkle (plaintiff), brought a wrongful-death action against the mall operator, Food Service East, Inc., (codefendant), which joined Tindal, the university, counselor, supervising doctor, and psychiatrist (codefendants). After discovery, the record did not show Tindal had previously expressed any violent tendencies toward Eyer. The trial court reasoned that meant the additional parties owed no duty to Eyer and granted summary judgment dismissing them. Dunkle appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Popovich, J.)

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