Lawsuit against FedEx for 2021 mass shooting dismissed, judge cites jurisdiction over case

INDIANAPOLIS — A lawsuit against FedEx and a security company filed by relatives of five of the victims killed in the 2021 mass shooting at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis has now been dismissed.

On April 15, 2021, eight people were killed when a former employee opened fire on the establishment. Family members of the victims have accused FedEx and security specialists of negligence and failing to keep the workplace safe.

The lawsuit 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 history of the city.

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 has filed two motions with the court asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

One, citing that since FedEx is split into several separate companies, “FedEx ultimately cannot be held responsible for the actions of its subsidiaries in Indiana.”

“FedEx therefore argues that FedEx does not do business in Indiana; FedEx has never heard of Indiana; only Ground does business in Indiana; what Ground does in Indiana is its own matter,” the order on motions to dismiss said.

U.S. District Court Judge James Sweeney called the argument absurd, but that it could have validity in corporate law.

“Because corporations are treated as separate legal entities, as a general rule, the jurisdictional contacts of a subsidiary are not imputed to the parent corporation,” Judge Sweeney wrote in the motion. “It is therefore entirely possible that FedEx ultimately cannot be held responsible for the actions of its subsidiaries in Indiana.”

Sweeney J. dismissed the motion to dismiss under this argument. However, he dismissed the lawsuit based on the company’s second motion that the families “have, according to their own allegations, litigated a workers’ compensation case.”

The judge explained that the lawsuit then falls under the Indiana workers’ compensation law and that this court does not have jurisdiction over the case.

“This case, however, is as litigated within the exclusive scope of Indiana workers’ compensation law: the injuries for which plaintiffs seek compensation are said to have ‘occurred by accident arising out of and in the course of of employment,” Judge Sweeney said in the order to dismiss. “And, because the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board has exclusive jurisdiction over the law, this Court cannot award any relief to the claims of plaintiffs against FedEx.”

The requests made by the families were “dismissed without prejudice to allow the plaintiffs to re-file before the competent court”. This means they can file their complaint with the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board.

Below is the order written by Judge Sweeney.

The lawsuit sought financial damages, and the families said they also wanted to see security improvements for FedEx and other businesses. You can read more about previous coverage claims when it was first filed.

FOX59 has contacted FedEx and the families’ attorneys for a statement on the dismissed lawsuit, but has not heard back at this time.

About the victims

The victims killed in the shooting were:

  • Matthew R. Alexander, 32
  • Samaria Blackwell, 19
  • Amarjeet Johal, 66 years old
  • Jasvinder Kaur, 50
  • Jaswinder Singh, 68
  • Amarjit Sekhon, 48 years old
  • Karli Smith, 19 years old
  • John Weisert, 74 years old

Thelma J. Longworth