Missoula couple sues Albertsons after knife slashing

Couple alleges grocery store negligent in hiring alleged attacker

By: - September 17, 2021 3:15 pm

Missoula couple Dylan and Joselin Turner are taking Albertsons and Tremper Shopping Center to court after an unprovoked man wearing a grocery store vest slashed Dylan Turner’s arm in the parking lot and put him out of work, according to a complaint filed Friday in Missoula County District Court.

The man, Shane Roy Davis, on parole and believed to have been employed by Albertsons at the time, confronted the couple once, left, and then returned with a knife and tried to stab Dylan Turner in the neck, the court document said.

“Dylan blocked the knife attack with his right forearm,” the complaint said. “The knife attack sliced an artery in Dylan’s forearm, causing, in Dylan’s words, ‘a geyser of blood.’”

The Missoula Police Department found Davis inside Albertsons, the court document said. The same day, July 25, Davis, 45, was booked in the Missoula County Jail, according to the jail roster. The roster notes he is being held on two felony counts, assault with a weapon and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

However, the complaint also said Davis is on parole for burglary, and the Montana Department of Corrections records note he had been committed to the Department of Public Health and Human Services. According to the complaint, he had been committed to Warm Springs, the state’s psychiatric hospital.

“Albertson’s [sic] negligently supervised or negligently failed to control Davis,” the court record said. “Albertson’s knew or should have known that Davis was on parole for burglary and had a documented history of mental disease(s) or disorder(s) associated with the burglary, yet Albertson’s failed to supervise or otherwise control Davis in a manner sufficient for Albertson’s to identify and timely respond to Davis engaging in harmful conduct toward members of the public.”

Albertsons, which is based in Boise, Idaho, did not immediately respond Friday afternoon to a voicemail on its media line requesting comment. The grocery store where the alleged attack took place is at the Tremper Shopping Center, and no one with Tremper could immediately be reached for comment via a message left with a property management receptionist.

Since the attack, Dylan Turner hasn’t been able to work because he is an independent mechanic and right-handed, and he will likely require future medical care for his arm, the complaint said. The complaint also said both of the Turners have suffered physical symptoms associated with emotional distress and are seeing a trauma counselor.

“Both Dylan and Joselin believed at the time of the knife attack that Davis was trying to kill Dylan,” the complaint said.

Neither a nurse or the Missoula Fire Department were able to stop the bleeding at the scene, but a trauma surgeon later closed  the wounds at St. Patrick Hospital, the complaint said.

The complaint said the couple had planned to move to Billings, but because Dylan Turner has not been able to work, they lost pre-approval status for a home loan, and Dylan Turner has had to cancel interviews with prospective employers. The couple is represented by Heenan and Cook of Billings.

“In its hiring and supervising of its employees, including Davis, Albertson’s [sic] owed a duty of reasonable care to members of the public who come in contact or otherwise interact with its employees,” the complaint said.

The couple is asking the court to find Albertsons guilty of actual malice and pay punitive damages. The couple also wants the court to find that Tremper, which leases space to Albertsons, should have exercised more reasonable care and must pay damages as a result.

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Keila Szpaller
Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”