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PBC-Based Employer of Pulse Shooter Cleared of Negligence

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Nearly four years after the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando that include 49 people and injured dozens of others, a state appeals court on Wednesday rejected negligence lawsuits that were filed against the employer of shooter Omar Mateen.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal upholds a ruling by a Palm Beach County circuit judge, who had previously dismissed the lawsuits against G4S Secure Solutions (USA), Inc.

Mateen, who died in a shootout with law enforcement just after the June 2016 attack, had been employed as a security guard by the Palm Beach County-based company since 2007. He carried a gun in the job and had a Class G firearms license, which requires 28 hours of classroom as well as range training.

The lawsuit raised arguments that the company had been notified that Mateen was unstable and dangerous, and that he had expressed a desire to commit mass murder against individuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, according to the appeals court ruling.

The complaints also alleged that the company has a “duty to make an appropriate investigation of their prospective employees prior to, and use due care in, hiring them, providing them with firearm training, retaining them as employees or obtaining/maintaining their Class G firearms licenses, but failed to do so” with Mateen, the ruling adds.

However, the appeals court disagreed with the plaintiffs’ arguments that the facts of the case had established that the actions of G4S “created a broader zone of foreseeable risk” to the victims. The seven-page ruling states that Mateen did not use weapons owned or controlled by the company, and that he would have been able to buy the type of weapons without the firearm license he held for his job.