WASHINGTON (CN) — Civil charges against companies connected to the lone gunman who killed 12 people and wounded eight at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard in 2013 have been dismissed by a federal judge, except for a claim that the companies may have erred by hiring the murderer.
Civilian contractor Aaron Alexis opened fire inside a building at the Navy Yard on Sept. 16, 2013, before police shot him to death.
Alexis used a temporary access card to get into the building.
“Mr. Alexis’s security clearance was still valid in September 2012, because he had been discharged from the Navy within the prior 24 months,” U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in her Sept. 1 order.
Six workers who witnessed the killing spree say they suffered physical and psychological injuries from it.
They filed six individual lawsuits against The Experts Inc., the subcontractor that employed Alexis; Enterprise Services LLC, the contractor that retained The Experts; and the Hana Group Inc. and HBC Management Services Inc., which provided security at the building.
The Experts, a subcontractor for Enterprise Services, hired Alexis in 2012 as a computer technician.
“In the years leading up to his employment with The Experts and Enterprise Services, Mr. Alexis had a history of violent outbursts and arrests — although no convictions — including some that occurred while Mr. Alexis served in the Navy,” Collyer wrote in the 31-page order. “Despite these incidents, Mr. Alexis was honorably discharged in December 2010, retaining his security clearance.”
The plaintiffs — Dotyln Jograj, Rosalind Parker, Lori Lee Stultz, Douglas Levitas, Jerome Boyd and Sherrie T. Lawson — said The Experts and Enterprises Services failed to do a thorough background check to learn of Alexis’s violent inclinations.
They claimed Enterprise Services, The Experts, and HBC failed to anticipate and prevent Alexis’s shooting and that Enterprise Services and The Experts did not abide by certain federal statutes, regulations and policy manuals.
Stultz and Levitas alleged loss of consortium through their partners’ injuries.
But Collyer said the defendants ran an adequate background check and could not have foreseen the mass murder.
“Enterprise Services also required The Experts to run a background check on new employees, which consisted of a drug test, a driving record check, and a criminal conviction check,” the judge wrote. “Mr. Alexis cleared all these background checks and was hired by The Experts.”
She added: “Mr. Alexis, with a valid security clearance and valid entry passes, was authorized to enter and work in Building 197. No plaintiff alleges that HBC had been notified of Mr. Alexis’s conduct in August 2013 incidents or was otherwise aware of any proclivity towards violence on Mr. Alexis’s part. No facts, therefore, lead to the conclusion that Mr. Alexis’s actions were in any way foreseeable to HBC.”
The only counts that survived were negligent retention and supervision of Alexis by The Experts and Enterprise Services.
Collyer dropped the security companies as defendants.
The Experts and Enterprises Services could not be reached for comment Tuesday.