JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nine more lawsuits have been filed in the wake of a mass shooting at The Jacksonville Landing, bringing the total to 12.
A 24-year-old gamer from Baltimore shot up a "Madden NFL 19" qualifying tournament at the Good Luck Have Fun game bar inside Chicago Pizza, killing Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton.
Arguably, the most notable of the newly filed lawsuits was a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Robertson's widow.
The shooter, David Katz, took his own life after gunning down his rival gamers and wounding 10 others.
Six other plaintiffs are Christopher McFarland, Christian Lomenzo, Darren Hojjati, Dennis Alton, Sandro Aguayo and Vincent Young. Their lawsuits allege they were traumatized by a fear of death or great bodily harm. None of the six were shot.
A lawsuit from Douglas Thiel contends he was permanently harmed and forever scarred by the shooting. He also was not shot.
Finally, Kiana Chambers' lawsuit says during the rush to get out of Chicago Pizza, she blacked out. She was not shot.
Former prosecutor weighs in
A former federal prosecutor said the lawsuits will be difficult to settle because negligence is difficult to prove.
"David Katz had a history of mental illness and was taking psychotropic drugs, but that's not something that the businesses at the Landing knew about,” attorney Curtis Fallgatter said. “They had too many people there. They were over their capacity of attendance. The Landing itself has very little security, so that's something they can criticize. On the other hand, these things happen so fast -- how do you stop something like that?"
Defendants in the suits include Electronic Arts Inc., which sponsored the tournament, The Jacksonville Landing, Chicago Pizza and a private security firm.
Fallgatter said with so many organizations involved, the suits likely won't go to trial.
"They are hoping these folks will all get together and throw some money to settle the case,” Fallgatter said.
He said more lawsuits could be filed, and he doesn't expect a settlement anytime soon.