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Lawsuits & Litigation

Family of California Man Killed in Rail Shooting Files Lawsuit Against Santa Clara V.T.A.

— May 26, 2022

The family of a slain Santa Clara Valley Transit Agency employee has filed a lawsuit against the V.T.A., claiming it failed to adequately address concerns about the shooter’s mental health and propensity toward violence.

The family of a California man killed in a mass shooting has announced a lawsuit against the Santa Clara Valley Transit Agency, claiming the organization failed to adequately investigate and address concerns about the shooter’s mental health.

According to CBS News, the lawsuit was field by the family of slain V.T.A. employee Lars Kepler Lane.

Lane was among nine people killed when 57-year-old Samuel James Cassidy took a firearm to a V.T.A. light rail yard and opened fire on his coworkers.

In their complaint, Lane’s family alleges that the V.T.A., the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, and the private security company tasked with guarding the railyard never addressed the shooter’s history of violent threats.

Despite Cassidy repeatedly suggesting that he might stage a shooting, the V.T.A. and the other defendant organizations never hired or requested additional protection.

Cassidy, says CBS News, arrived to work on May 26, 2021.

Shortly after reaching the site, Cassidy retrieved three 9mm, semi-automatic handguns. The 57-year-old man also brought 32 high-capacity magazines.

Cassidy fired a total of 39 bullets, killing nine of his coworkers before committing suicide.

Image of a Gun and Bullet Casings
Gun and Bullet Casings; image courtesy of stevepb via Pixabay,

Cassidy, adds The Associated Press, effectively executed his coworkers, shooting them one by one inside the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority light rail yard.

Attorneys for the Lane family noted that, in the aftermath of the shooting, the V.T.A. released more than 200 pages of emails and other documents. These documents showed that Cassidy had been the subject of at least four investigations.

In one email, V.T.A. officials relayed concerns that a coworker feared Cassidy could “go postal.”

The lawsuit asserts that the V.T.A. “knew, and had experienced, Cassidy’s repeated pattern of insubordination. They were also aware of numerous verbal altercations Cassidy had with coworkers on at least four separate occasions, in which SCVTA failed to adequately investigate and/or discipline Cassidy for any of these separate incidents.”

While California law could oblige the families to file for worker’s compensation instead of filing a lawsuit, the complaint states that this law does not apply because of the V.T.A.’s “intentional and outrageous conduct.”

Worker’s compensation, says Lane family attorney N, “doesn’t include getting shot in a mass shooting. In this case the defendants had an obligation to provide security.”

“It wasn’t just inadequate,” Rowley added, “they had no actual trained security officers or policies or procedures in place. This was preventable.”

Rowley said that lawsuits seem to be the only effective way to hold wrongdoers accountable, as politicians and public officials have thus far steadfastly refused to take any substantive action to prevent mass shootings.

Casey, notes CBS News, had legally purchased and stockpiled more than 25,000 rounds of ammunition in his home.


Family of slain VTA employee sues transit agency for failing to stop gunman

Lawsuit: California transit agency failed to stop gunman

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