Will Victims of Pulse Nightclub Shootings Prevail With Lawsuit?

THE ALLEGED FACTS
The victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida are suing both the wife of the shooter and the shooter’s former employer. They accuse them of failing to prevent the abhorrent massacre. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in South Florida.

The 57 victims, consisting of survivors and representatives of the deceased, allege that the security company that the shooter worked for knew of the comments Omar Mateen had made prior to the shootings that resulted in the tragic death of 49 club patrons and the injury of dozens more. Mateen allegedly bragged to a co-worker that he had ties to terrorists and a mass shooter. The law suit alleges that his employer, G4S Secure Solutions, should have immediately taken away his weapons and recommended that his firearms license be revoked. When investigated by both his employer and the FBI in 2013, he claimed that he only said those outrageous things so that his co-worker would stop teasing him about being Muslim. The FBI determined that he did not pose a threat.

The lawsuit accuses the shooter’s widow, Noor Salman, of knowing of the attack before hand and doing nothing to stop it. Additionally, it’s alleged that she accompanied her husband when he cased locations for potential attacks. Furthermore, she allegedly assisted him with the purchase of firearms. She faces federal criminal charges of aiding and abetting her husband and for obstructing justice as a result of her lying to law enforcement. She’s currently in federal jail awaiting trial.

LEGAL ANALYSIS
In order to prevail in this lawsuit against the shooter’s former employers, the plaintiffs will need to prove that the security firm had a duty and failed in its duty. Thus, as a result, they would be responsible for what happened. That’s not going to be easy to prove. Had they heard that one of their employees bragged about ties to terrorists and mass shooters and then they chose to do nothing, then that would be a different scenario. In this instance, they took his threats seriously and investigated. Additionally, the FBI investigated him and reached the same conclusion, that he posed no threat. I find it hard to believe that if this case does eventually reach a jury, that they would rule against the company. Employers don’t have crystal balls. In the absence of credible evidence that he was going to engage in this horrific massacre, they can’t do much. They certainly have every right to reasonably rely on the FBI’s finding as well.

My conclusions are different concerning the shooter’s wife. If what prosecutors are alleging is true, then she co-conspired with her husband. She aided him in carrying out his evil plan. For that, she will likely be held accountable, both in criminal and civil courts. Unfortunately, I suspect that the wife’s pockets aren’t very deep. In other words, a civil judgment against her may not be worth the paper its printed on since she’s likely indigent. These victims are hoping the company settles or ultimately gets tagged by a jury because that may be their only way to secure financial compensation for their extensive pain and suffering.