A man who was injured in a mass shooting at a high school football game in Mobile, Alabama, is suing the Mobile County Public School System and several other parties, alleging negligent security measures exposed him and others at the game to criminal violence.
The plaintiff, Daryl Peoples, was one of nine people who were shot at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile Aug. 30 when a 17-year-old student opened fire on the spectators watching Williamson High School play LeFlore High School. Five of the nine victims were critically injured in the shooting.
The negligent security lawsuit alleges the Mobile County Public School System, the Alabama High School Athletic Association, the city of Mobile and Ladd-Peebles Stadium failed to provide adequate security at the venue. The lawsuit claims the school system and the athletic association failed to “demand security and/or safety measures to protect spectators.”
According to Mobile’s WALA Fox 10 News, the lawsuit says that Mr. Peoples was hospitalized for his gunshot injuries, racking up medical bills and lost wages. The lawsuit also alleges that Mr. Peoples suffers from mental anguish on top of the physical injuries and pain and that he will continue to suffer in the future.
The Mobile County Public School System filed a motion asking Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Brandy Hambright to dismiss the lawsuit. The defendant argues that under the Alabama state constitution, boards of education are immune from civil liability.
A lawyer for the School System said that the defendant is “statutorily immune from any punitive damage claims” as well.
Judge Hambright scheduled a hearing on the county school system’s motion for Jan. 22.
The student who opened fire on the crowd of spectators turned himself in the day after the game. He was arrested and charged with nine counts of attempted murder.
The shooting underscores a disturbing trend of mass shootings that is gaining momentum throughout the U.S.
“Our crimes are becoming more violent and our criminals are becoming younger and this is very indicative of that,” Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said, according to WALA.
School superintendent Eddie Taylor indicated that threats of mass shootings are not uncommon.
“What happened in Mobile isn’t unique. In fact, just two weeks ago we dealt with a series of unrelated threats on our campuses. This series of threats and violence is a disease impacting our youth across this nation. We will stand with Mobile in any way necessary to help all of our children and families across South Alabama’s schools.” Mr. Taylor said.
After the shooting, Mobile Public Schools implemented new security measures for sporting events, including walk-through metal detectors and a clear-bag policy. Access to the stadiums is now restricted to one or two gates.
Beasley Allen lawyers handle cases involving issues of premises liability and negligent security. Premises liability is the responsibility a land or property owner has for accidents, injury or other incidents that occur on his real property. Negligent security cases normally take the form of shootings, fights, stabbings, or other physical violence (including sexual assault) where severe injury or death occurs due to the establishment owner’s failure to take reasonable safety measures. When this occurs, the establishment owner, as well as those contractors charged with security, may be held responsible for the injuries suffered by individuals or groups of individuals on the premises. For more information about these types of cases, contact Parker Miller, a lawyer in our Atlanta office.