Judge dismisses FedEx from Indianapolis shooting lawsuit

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed FedEx from a lawsuit filed by relatives of five of the eight people fatally shot at an Indianapolis warehouse last year by a former employee of the shipping giant.

U.S. District Judge James Sweeney on Monday dismissed a request from FedEx Corp. allowed to dismiss her and three of her departments from the wrongful death complaint. He determined that the federal court does not have jurisdiction over the case seeking unspecified damages because it falls within Indiana’s Workers Compensation Act.

Sweeney wrote in his order that “because the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board has exclusive jurisdiction over the law, this court cannot grant discharge for the plaintiffs’ claims against FedEx.”

His order does not preclude the lawsuit from another defendant, Securitas Security Services, which provides security at the FedEx warehouse on Indianapolis’ southwest side.

The lawsuit was filed in April in the US District Court in Indianapolis. The plaintiffs are relatives of the victims of the shooting Amarjeet Johal, 66; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Jasvinder Kaur, 50; John Weisert, 74; and Karli Smith, 19.

Matthew R. Alexander (32), Samaria Blackwell (19) and Jaswinder Singh (68) were also killed in the attack.

The lawsuit argues that 19-year-old gunman Brandon Scott Hole “exhibited multiple counts of emotional and mental instability” prior to the April 15, 2021 shooting.

Hole, a former FedEx employee, fatally shot himself after killing eight FedEx employees, including four members of Indianapolis’ Sikh community. Five other people were injured in the attack.

Melvin L. Hewitt, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said in a statement Tuesday, “We were obviously extremely disappointed by the judge’s decision to dismiss FedEx and its parent and subsidiary companies from the wrongful death lawsuit.”

“The laws of Indiana and a number of states often shield large employers from worker’s compensation liability. In this case, however, Indiana protects not only the employer but also the employer’s parent company, going so far as to grant immunity to separate entities owned by the employer,” Hewitt added.

When asked Tuesday whether the plaintiffs would seek relief with the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board, Hewitt replied, “We will take all avenues available to us on behalf of the plaintiffs.”

https://www.wane.com/news/indiana/judge-dismisses-fedex-from-indianapolis-shooting-lawsuit/ Judge dismisses FedEx from Indianapolis shooting lawsuit

Dais Johnston

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