Attorney Says Uptown Dallas Target Dropped the Ball in Attack against Theater Director

A Dallas lawyer says he has serious questions about security procedures at Target following a weekend assault in one of that store’s parking lots that left a well-known Texas theater director with a fractured skull. Attorney Chris Hamilton of Standly Hamilton, LLP says Target should have taken far more seriously the armed threat that Dallas theater director Derek Whitener reported receiving on the way into the store near City Place in Dallas Saturday night. Mr. Hamilton also says Target sent Mr. Whitener into an ambush by allowing him to later leave the store unaccompanied by store security.

This attack was preventable. Having been informed of the danger, Target should not have allowed its customer to walk alone into an ambush. All businesses have a common sense responsibility to keep their customers safe from predictable and preventable crimes. In our view, all Target security had to do was take some basic precautions and provide Derek an escort when he finished his shopping. Target needs to take the safety of its customers more seriously, especially one that reports armed, threatening men in the parking lot to store security.

Mr. Whitener is recovering at Baylor University Medical Center after he was beaten with a wooden pole by two masked men in a Target store parking lot the night of Jan. 14. Mr. Whitener had stopped by the Dallas CityPlace store after his performance at Firehouse Theater. He told Target employees that he noticed two suspicious men walking toward him. A Target security officer and an off-duty Dallas Police officer spoke to the suspects and asked them to leave the property. Mr. Whitener finished shopping and was allowed to walk to his car by himself when he was attacked. Chris Hamilton has prior experiences with cases involving businesses’ liability for crimes committed on their premises. In 2015, a jury awarded his clients $27 million after an attack that began at a College Station McDonald’s that left two teenagers dead. According to VerdictSearch, it was the top Texas premises liability verdict of the past decade.

For more information, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or

Dallas attorney Chris Hamilton of Standly Hamilton, LLP speaks to reporters about his concerns regarding security procedures at Target following an attack of a Dallas theater director.

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