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Family of Woman Beaten to Death Sues Best Buy

The family of Evelyn Smith Udell, the 75-year-old Boca Raton, Florida woman who was fatally beaten and burned by a worker delivering a washer and dryer to her home is suing Best Buy.  The wrongful-death lawsuit alleges that Best Buy, where she purchased the washer and dryer, failed to warn her of the third-party companies that they had neither investigated nor supervised for their deliveries; in this case, JB Hunt and XM Delivery Service.

According to the police report, on August 19, 2019, Jorge Lachazo, 21, beat Smith Udell with a mallet, then doused her with a chemical, setting her on fire.  He fled the scene in the delivery truck, while his coworker called 911.  Smith Udell later died in the hospital from her injuries.

“We have filed a lawsuit against Best Buy, JB Hunt and XM Delivery Service to hold them accountable for failing to conduct adequate background checks on the workers they’re sending to customers’ homes,” said Nick Panagakis, the family’s attorney.  “The killer’s background should have easily disqualified him as a delivery driver required to drive a delivery truck that he couldn’t legally do — and with direct and continuous access to the private homes of totally innocent victims,” Panagakis continued.

Best Buy responded in a statement:  “If the family will accept it, we would very much like the opportunity to donate to the charity they have established. As importantly, we join with the Udell family in calling for legislation regarding mandatory background checks across the retail industry and any other reasonable steps that can be taken to ensure this kind of tragedy does not occur again.”  The statement also indicated that background checks “have long been required by Best Buy and we are working with those we contract out to ensure that these checks are up-to-date and are done on a re-occurring basis.”

Important legislation regarding required background checks is expected to stem from this case in Florida.


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Hire Image understands the importance of background screenings to help protect your customers, employees, and property from instances such as this devastating one.  Contact us to learn more about what else you can do today to help protect yourself and others with whom you work.

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