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Mass Shooting Liability: Uvalde, Chesapeake Survivors and Victims File Lawsuits

Following major instances of gun violence in the United States in 2022, survivors and families of victims have consistently filed lawsuits against alleged shooters' employers, gun manufacturers, and first responders.

Below are two recent lawsuits that Security Management is tracking.

Uvalde School Shooting

Survivors and families of the victims of the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, filed a $27 billion class action lawsuit against first responders in a U.S. federal court on Wednesday, 30 November.

The plaintiffs include students, parents, teachers, and staff of the Robb Elementary School. The Texas school was the site of a mass shooting in May 2023, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers, plus injuries to another 17 individuals. The shooting is the third-deadliest to occur on a U.S. school campus, and the second-deadliest at a K-12 school.

The lawsuit was filed against the Uvalde Police Department, as well as the city, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, the district’s police department, and the state public safety department. Also named in the suit were individuals who are either current or former agency members.

Although nearly 400 members of law enforcement from various agencies responded to the incident on 24 May, the shooter, Salvador Rolando Ramos, remained in the school for more than an hour before law enforcement entered.

The plaintiffs, more than 3,000 people altogether, allege in the lawsuit that they “sustained emotional and psychological damages as a result of defendants’ conduct and omissions” in response to the shooting. “…Instead of swiftly implementing an organized and concerted response to an active school shooter who had breached the otherwise ‘secured’ school buildings at Robb Elementary school, the conduct of the (376) law enforcement officials who were on hand for the exhaustively torturous (77) minutes of law enforcement indecision, dysfunction, and harm, fell exceedingly short of their duty bound standards.” 

“The civil complaint is at least the third around the massacre that seeks damages from a number of parties,” CNN reported. One of those lawsuits, filed earlier this week, came from the mother of on the shooting victims and named Uvalde’s law enforcement agencies, the school district, and gun manufacturer Daniel Defense, according to The Hill.

Chesapeake Walmart Shooting

In Chesapeake, Virginia, a Walmart employee and survivor is suing the retailer for negligence in response to a shooting carried out by a store manager that killed six people and injured several others on 22 November. 

The plaintiff, Donya Prioleau, said that she warned her employer in September about concerning behavior exhibited by the shooter, Andre Bing. In the lawsuit, Prioleau claimed “that she had lodged a formal complaint against the [Bing], who was a supervisor in the store, after he repeatedly made bizarre and inappropriate comments to her,” according to The New York Times.

The suit alleged that the retail giant was negligent in its hiring and employment of the shooter. Bing also died during the incident, reportedly from a self-inflicted gunshot.

“The lawsuit claims management knew or should have known about Bing’s disturbing behavior and lists several instances of alarming conduct,” the Associated Press reported

For instance, Bing allegedly asked coworkers whether they had received active shooter training and made comments to colleagues that he would be violent if fired or disciplined.