Slain clerk's estate sues MetroPCS, T-Mobile USA

Lawsuit claims security at retail store was negligent


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Representatives for the estate of Shelby Farah, who was shot and killed during a robbery at a Brentwood MetroPCS store two years ago, have filed a lawsuit, claiming the business  had inadequate security measures.

The lawsuit, filed Friday, claims that the 20-year-old victim was working alone at the retail store on North Main Street when an armed robber shot and killed her. 

"They assigned my child that store July 8th. She got robbed and killed 12 days later," said Darlene Farah, the victim's mother. "The whole reason for this is I want to see changes. I want to see MetroPCS think about security first and not thing about dollar signs. I don't want another family to go through what we've been through and what we will go through for the rest of our life."

According to the suit, the armed robbery was "foreseeable based on crime statistics in the general area of the MetroPCS store as well as the history of criminal activity at the MetroPCS store itself."

The suit said an employee was robbed at gunpoint at the store six months before Farah was killed.

Attorney Galen Bauer said the store did not take necessary safety measures like having a security guard, a silent alarm button, a clerk behind bulletproof glass or an escape route.

"MetroPCS is, I believe, responsible for this, because MetroPCS could have prevented this," attorney Galen Bauer said. "The same store had been robbed six months almost to the day before Shelby was killed. In response to that wake-up call, they did nothing."

COURT DOCUMENT: Estate of Shelby Farah. vs. MetroPCS, T-Mobile

The lawsuit names MetroPCS Florida, MetroPCS South, T-Mobile USA and T-Mobile US as defendants. The suit also names James Rhodes, who was arrested days after Farah was killed and is awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Rhodes
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Rhodes

Rhodes (pictured) is due in court next week for a determination whether he is intellectually disabled, and therefore could not face the death penalty.

A psychologist testifying for the prosecution said intellectually disabled individuals have an IQ of under 70, but Rhodes tested at 72 when he was in elementary school, 75 in middle school and had an IQ of between 80 and 90 when he was 16.

Darlene Farah said she believes Rhodes is faking being mentally disabled to avoid facing the death penalty.

News4Jax asked MetroPCS and T-Mobile for reaction to the lawsuit. A spokesman representing both companies made this statement:

"This senseless act of violence at an authorized MetroPCS dealer store was tragic. While our sympathies remain with the family, we are unable to comment further while litigation is pending."