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Survivors of Pulse Nightclub Shooting File Lawsuit, Allege Massacre Could Have Been Prevented

By: Allan M. Siegel

More than 90 survivors and family members of victims involved in last year’s Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting recently filed a federal lawsuit against the gunman’s wife and his former employer, alleging that one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history could have been prevented had they responded appropriately to warning signs.

Nightclub Liability

Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people and injured nearly 70 others before being fatally shot by police on the night of June 12, 2016, had a verifiable history of violence, threats, and statements regarding terrorism, the lawsuit alleges. Due to the negligence of the security firm where the 29-year-old worked, and because he had assistance from his wife, Mateen was able to executive what the lawsuit refers to as a “predictable” massacre.

The June tragedy was one of the most destructive massacres executed by a single gunman in America. Following a federal investigation, Mateen’s widow, Noor Salman, was arrested and charged with aiding and abetting for her role in assisting Mateen with planning the shooting, conducting surveillance on the nightclub, and purchasing firearms and ammunition for his use.

In addition to naming Mateen’s widow, the lawsuit also alleges that the London-based security firm which employed him since 2007 disregarded a number of warning signs, including his references to terrorism and involvement with terrorist organizations, FBI investigations into Mateen prior to the shooting, and threats made by Mateen. These warnings, the suit claims, should have prompted a new psychological evaluation or a revocation of his firearms license.

The Pulse Nightclub lawsuit takes an interesting legal approach to helping victims pursue justice and compensation following mass shootings. In other shootings, lawsuits filed on behalf of victims and survivors commonly name the location where the shooting took place as a defendant, and they often argue that inadequate security made it possible for a tragedy to take place. This was the case with the Aurora, Colorado shooting in 2012, when victims unsuccessfully attempted to sue the movie theatre where the shooter open fired.

As a law firm that has handled cases involving shootings and nightclub liability, we intend to follow this lawsuit closely. What transpires during the course of this case could very well have an impact on future cases involving mass shootings, victims’ rights, and liability, and, despite the tragic consequences these events create, may provide hope for victims and survivors who simply want justice and compensation for their incalculable losses.