FedEx shooting: Victims, family members sue company that distributed magazine used in shooting

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A bouqet of flowers rests outside the FedEx Ground facility following the April 15, 2021, shooting. (IL file photo)

Victims and family members of victims from the 2021 FedEx shooting in Indianapolis have filed a lawsuit against American Tactical Inc., the distributor of the magazine used in the shooting, alleging negligence, public nuisance and unlawful marketing.

The lawsuitGurinder Singh Bains, et al. v. American Tactical, Inc., et al., 6:23-cv-06208 — was filed Thursday, two days shy of the two-year anniversary of the shooting that left eight people dead, plus the shooter.

The lawsuit is in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, where American Tactical is located.

The plaintiffs previously requested a combined $2 million in damages from the city of Indianapolis, claiming local officials failed to pursue a court hearing that could have prevented the shooter from accessing guns used in the attack. The city effectively denied the request by not responding to the tort claim.

The new lawsuit accuses the company of breaching its duty to use reasonable care in marketing, advertising and promoting high-capacity magazines like the one the FedEx shooter used.

In marketing the magazine, the suit says the company knew or should have known of people like the shooter, “who would be attracted to such a weapon accessory and could pose a tremendous risk to the safety of others.” The shooter fits into a category of people, the suit says, who are “impulsive young men with insecurities regarding their masculinity.”

The complaint says American Tactical published video advertisements that show “extreme violence and reckless spraying of bullets.” One video for the model of magazine the shooter used — the Schmeisser Gen II 60-round magazine — has been removed from YouTube for violating the platform’s policies, according to the suit.

Because of the shooter’s history of receiving treatment for “severe and readily noticeable and observable” mental health problems, plus the fact that he wore a tactical vest during the shooting, the complaint says he was “foreseeably motivated” by American Tactical’s marketing.

The complaint also accuses American Tactical of having actual or constructive knowledge that violating its duty of care would “likely result in one or more of their products being used in one or more mass shootings.” Plaintiffs said their argument is partly supported by a “lengthy string” of mass shootings throughout the country.

“Had Defendants not violated their duty of reasonable care by placing an unreasonably dangerous product on the market, the Shooter would never have gained access to the Magazine,” the complaint says.

The suit says American Tactical hasn’t changed its “negligent practices” since the shooting.

The defendants face counts of negligence, wrongful death, public nuisance and wrongful death in regards to public nuisance from Gurinder Singh Bains, the representative for the estate of his mother, Jaswinder Singh, who died in the shooting.

Harpreet Singh and his wife, Dilpreet Kaur, have brought claims of negligence, public nuisance and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Hapreet has suffered pain, disability, disfigurement and other ailments from the shooting, according to the suit. Dilpreet has suffered because of her husband’s disability.

Finally, Lakhwinder Kaur has brought the same charges as Halpreet and Dilpreet for injuries including disability, disfigurement and loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.

The plaintiffs asked the court for a jury trial and for general and special damages each exceeding $75,000.

Court documents do not yet list an attorney for American Tactical. The plaintiffs are being represented by Hadley Lundback, an attorney from New York.

Reached by phone, a customer service representative for American Tactical forwarded a call from Indiana Lawyer to another number for media inquiries, but the mailbox was full.

Other family members of victims filed a federal lawsuit in 2022 against FedEx and a security company. A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana dismissed FedEx from the suit.

That lawsuit — Gurinder Johal, et al. v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., 1:22-cv-00716 — is still pending.

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