Walmart is facing multiple lawsuits filed by victims of a mass shooting that occurred at one of its El Paso, Texas, stores in August. The plaintiffs claim that the retail giant was negligent in its failure to provide armed security guards that could have prevented or mitigated the shooting.

Twenty-two people were killed. Another two dozen were injured in the Aug. 3 shooting, including Guillermo and Jessica Garcia. The Garcias were shopping with their two children at the El Paso Walmart when a 21-year-old domestic terrorist entered with an AK-47 and started shooting customers and employees in what authorities described as racially motivated massacre.

Mr. Garcia was critically injured after being shot in the spine, while Mrs. Garcia suffered bullet wounds to her legs. The couple continues to recover, but like many others the shooting has left them with physical and emotional injuries that will last a lifetime.

According to their complaint, “Jessica Garcia and Guillermo Garcia’s injuries would not have occurred but for the negligence, gross negligence, and premises liability,” the New York Post reported.

A petition filed on their behalf in El Paso County district court alleges that the El Paso Walmart where the massacre happened “does not appear to have had any armed guards for security, although a number of other Walmarts around the country do.” The Garcias also filed a restraining order against Walmart to preserve evidence as the store undergoes renovations and repair work.

Lawsuits brought against property owners by the victims of mass shootings are a relatively new area of law and one that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. The lessee of a property, event organizer, and other parties are often named in similar lawsuits.

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), the host of a “Madden NFL 19” video gaming tournament at a Chicago Pizza restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida, is defending itself against lawsuits filed by victims of an August 2018 mass shooting that killed two people and injured 10 others. Chicago Pizza and Jacksonville Landing, the shopping development where the shooting occurred, also face premises liability lawsuits.

Other premises liability lawsuits filed in the aftermath of mass shootings include the June 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orland Florida; the October 2017 Mandalay Bay Hotel shooting in Las Vegas; and the July 2019 Garlic Festival shooting in Gilroy, California; just to name a few.

In these times, property owners, event organizers, and other businesses must evaluated their gun-violence risk and take all appropriate measures to keep their customers safe. More than half a million acts of gun violence occur every year in the U.S., resulting in about 35,000 deaths and more than 124,000 serious injuries. For every one of these people harmed by gun violence and their loved ones, the emotional trauma is deep and long-lasting.

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. For more information about these types of cases, contact Parker Miller, a lawyer in our Atlanta office.

Additional sources:
The New York Post
CBS News
Beasley Allen

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