Firm principals Ralph Arnsdorf and Heather Rice recently obtained a favorable and reported ruling from Maryland’s Appellate Court (formerly the Maryland Court of Special Appeals) in a case resulting from a recent mass shooting event that occurred at a warehouse in Aberdeen, Maryland. This is an important ruling and the first reported opinion regarding a mass shooting in the state of Maryland.
In affirming the lower court’s ruling, Maryland’s Appellate Court found no liability for an employer (in this case, a temp agency) or a landowner where an unstable employee came to the workplace with a gun, shot and killed several people and wounded others before turning the gun on herself. The Court found that the temp agency and warehouse owner were not liable and the shooting was unforeseeable. Neither the employer nor the landowner could have known the employee was dangerous to the workplace.
The employer conducted proper, thorough background checks, including criminal background searches, which is the expectation for all employers and their hiring practices. Greater scrutiny may be required when employees are expected to interact with the public on a regular basis. When businesses and landowners are aware or reasonably should be aware of criminal activity in the area, they need to exercise reasonable efforts to provide adequate security in the workplace, including, but not limited to, surveillance and security personnel.
Click here to read the full opinion.