LAKEVIEW — The family of the man who died inside a Lakeview Jewel-Osco last month filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the grocery chain.
Eugenio Escriba, 55, died inside the store at 3531 N. Broadway on November 20 after being detained by Jewel personnel for alleged shoplifting.
When Jewel personnel confronted the man, he was allegedly combative, police said. With the help of a cashier and another person, they handcuffed him and took him to the store’s security office, where they called 911, police said.
Later that day, officers found the man slouched over a crate while still handcuffed, police told the Sun-Times. Officers began CPR and called paramedics, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Escriba’s nephew, Abelardo Escriba, filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on Tuesday on behalf of his uncle.
Jay McCarron, the family’s attorney, said they are still in the process of finding out what exactly happened that night.
“What we’re trying to find out right now is why exactly these individuals decided that it was reasonable and appropriate to bring someone to the ground and detain them in this fashion over some groceries and what the justification for risking someone’s life over it was,” he said.
McCarron declined to comment on any conversations the family has had with Jewel-Osco or police, but said his firm is looking into what happened.
“I can tell you that we’re investigating this matter. We have attempted to interview some witnesses whose identities I’m not going to give you,” he told Block Club. “We don’t know if the individuals involved with Mr. Escriba were employed by Jewel directly. We don’t know if there was an outside agency. That’s what we’re trying to find out right now.”
A Jewel-Osco spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending litigation. The law firm representing the store did not return a phone call.
McCarron said the family has not determined what they will seek in damages.
“We have not had any settlement negotiations with Jewel or any of their representatives. We are still very early on in this case and are investigating what happened.” he said. “But beyond that, any reports to a specific dollar amount being requested or valued are incorrect.”
A status hearing for the case has been set for February 2.