INDIANAPOLIS — A lawsuit against FedEx and a security company filed by relatives of five of the victims killed in the 2021 mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx Ground facility has now been dismissed.
On April 15, 2021, eight people were killed when a former employee opened fire at the facility. Family members of the victims accused FedEx and Security Specialists of negligence and failure to ensure the workplace was safe.
The complaint was filed earlier this year by the families of Amarjeet Johal, 66, Amarjit Sekhon, 48, Jasvinder Kaur, 50, John Weisert, 74, and Karli Smith, 19, the victims killed in the worst mass shooting in the city’s history.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana named FedEx Corporation; FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.; Federal Express Corporation; FedEx Corporate Services, Inc.; and Securitas Security Services, USA as defendants.
FedEx filed two motions with the court asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
One, citing that since FedEx is divided into various separate corporations, “FedEx cannot ultimately be held to account for its subsidiaries’ actions in Indiana.”
“FedEx thus argues that FedEx does no business in Indiana; FedEx has never heard of Indiana; only Ground does business in Indiana; what Ground does in Indiana is its own affair,” the order on motions to dismiss stated.
Judge James Sweeney with the U.S. District Court called the argument preposterous, but that it might be valid in corporate law.
“Because corporations are treated as separate legal entities, as a general rule, the jurisdictional contacts of a subsidiary corporation are not imputed to the parent,” Judge Sweeney wrote in the motion. “It is therefore quite possible that FedEx cannot ultimately be held to account for its subsidiaries’ actions in Indiana.”
Judge Sweeney denied the motion to dismiss under that argument. However, he did dismiss the lawsuit based on the company’s second motion, that the families “have by their own allegations pled a worker’s compensation case.”
The judge explained, that the lawsuit then falls under the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act, and that this court does not have jurisdiction over the case.
“This case, however, is as pleaded within the exclusive scope of the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act: the injuries for which Plaintiffs seek redress allegedly “occurred by accident arising out of and in the course of employment,” Judge Sweeney said in the order to dismiss. “And, because the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board has exclusive jurisdiction over the Act, this Court may not grant any relief on Plaintiffs’ claims against FedEx.”
The claims made by the families were “dismissed without prejudice to allow Plaintiffs to refile before the appropriate tribunal.” Meaning, they can refile their lawsuit with the Indiana Workers Compensation Board.
Below is the order written by Judge Sweeney.
The lawsuit sought financial damages and families said they also wanted to see security improvements for FedEx and other businesses. You can read more about the claims from previous coverage when it was first filed.
CBS4 reached out to FedEx and the attorneys for the families for a statement about the dismissed lawsuit, but have not heard back at this time.
About the victims
The victims killed in the shooting were:
- 32-year-old Matthew R. Alexander
- 19-year-old Samaria Blackwell
- 66-year-old Amarjeet Johal
- 50-year-old Jasvinder Kaur
- 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh
- 48-year-old Amarjit Sekhon
- 19-year-old Karli Smith
- 74-year-old John Weisert