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Walmart wants to dismiss lawsuits filed by Chesapeake store employees after mass shooting

Walmart Mass Shooting
Posted at 2:31 PM, Dec 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 14:37:08-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Walmart has responded to three lawsuits filed by employees of the Chesapeake store following the mass shooting at the store last month.

In legal filings, an attorney for Walmart argues the suits should be dismissed, saying the incident happened in the workplace and thus falls under workers' compensation coverage.

"Appalled and horrified by Bing's actions and the resulting tragedies, Walmart stands firmly committed to its deceased and injured employees, and grieves with their families. Walmart provides workers' compensation coverage to all of its employees for injuries or deaths which occur in the workplace, including those that are the result of intentional assaults by coworkers, which fall within the [Virginia Workers' Compensation] Act," the court documents say.

Legal experts have noted employees could face a tough road when filing these kinds of suits. Earlier this year, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by families of people killed in April 2021 at a FedEx Ground facility in Indiana, according to WRTV.

In that case, the judge said the claims involved the state's workers' compensation act, which fell outside of federal court jurisdiction.

Walmart's attorney has also refiled the case in federal court, saying it involves parties from different states and should be heard there rather than in Chesapeake Circuit Court.

A report in Reuters earlier this month also noted how the employees could face legal obstacles in their suits, but notes Virginia does make an exception in workers' compensation cases for gross negligence by an employer.

The three employees, James Kelly, Donya Prioleau, and Briana Marie Tyler, each argue Walmart was aware of issues and complaints about the shooter, but failed to act.

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