Concern over mass shootings reached new heights in Georgia and around the country in August when incidents in Texas and Ohio claimed 32 lives on consecutive days. The Texas shooting took place in an El Paso Walmart store and was perpetrated by a man who seems to have specifically targeted Latino employees and shoppers. A married couple who were injured in the attack while shopping with their children have filed a premises liability lawsuit against Walmart that alleges the Arkansas-based retailer could have done more to protect its workers and customers.
The couple’s lawsuit, which was filed in a district court on Aug. 30, questions Walmart’s decision not to post armed security guards at store entrances and points out that the company’s stores have been the scene of violent events in the past. The litigation calls the alleged oversight an act of gross negligence. The male plaintiff is still listed in critical condition after being shot in the spine. The woman is recovering from a gunshot wounds to her legs.
The lawsuit also seeks a restraining order against Walmart to ensure that evidence is preserved. A Walmart representative did not address the allegations contained in the lawsuit directly in a press interview, but he did say that safety was one of the company’s highest priorities and the retailer was cooperating fully with local, state and federal law enforcement.
Premises owners have a duty of care to protect visitors from violent crime. The key matters in lawsuits of this type are the adequacy of the security measures taken and the foreseeability of the incident in question. Personal injury attorneys with experience in this area may encourage corporations that have spent several years and millions of dollars building their reputations to settle lawsuits like this one even when the legal issues involved are far from clear.