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Judge tosses out Pasco jury in wrongful death lawsuit from McDonald's parking lot brawl

DADE CITY — The wrongful death civil trial over a 2005 fatal brawl in a McDonald's parking lot hit a stumbling block today when the judge dismissed the jury picked to hear the case.

Attorneys agreed on a six-member jury late Monday night, but since then lawyers on the plaintiff's side uncovered facts about three of the jurors, including old arrests the jurors did not list on their questionnaires.

The revelation prompted Circuit Judge Susan Gardner to dismiss the entire group and start over with a new panel from which another jury will be chosen.

The suit pits the parents of the man who died, 21-year-old Anthony Makowski, against the McDonald's franchisee and the owners of the shopping center where the restaurant sits on U.S. 41 in Land O'Lakes.

On April 24, 2005, about 4:30 a.m., Makowski got into a fight with two men in a car ahead of him in the McDonald's drive-through.

According to authorities who reviewed a surveillance video of the incident, Makowski charged at one of the men, Martin Robles-Taylor, and body slammed him. Robles-Taylor, then 25, grabbed Makowski by the throat and held him in a choke hold for several minutes. When paramedics arrived, Makowski lay unconscious. He later died at a hospital.

Because they determined Makowski was the aggressor in the fight, prosecutors never charged Robles-Taylor with a crime. Makowski's parents later sued Bob Brickman and B & B Cash Grocery Stores Inc., the restaurant and shopping center owners. Their suit alleges that the 24-hour drive-through should have been staffed with security to keep patrons safe.

Cathy and Wayne Makowski are seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

The trial is expected to last into next week.

Judge tosses out Pasco jury in wrongful death lawsuit from McDonald's parking lot brawl 06/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:03pm]
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