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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Navy Yard Shooting Suit Kicked Out of Florida

WASHINGTON (CN) - Florida is not the proper venue for claims related to a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013, a federal judge ruled.

Patricia Delorenzo, whose sister, Mary Frances Delorenzo Knight, was one of 12 killed by shooter Aaron Alexis at the Navy Yard on Sept. 16, 2013, brought the lawsuit just over a year ago in Tampa.

She claimed that Alexis, a computer technician for federal contractor The Experts Inc., had been displaying erratic behavior prior to the shooting but that neither The Experts nor the company to which it was subcontracted, failed to report such conduct to the U.S. Navy.

Though Delorenzo lives in Tampa, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday ordered the lawsuit transferred last week to Washington, D.C., for several factors.

The suit's only ties to Tampa are Delorenzo's residency and some business dealings and offices the defendants have in Florida, the court found.

HP meanwhile emphasized that none of the actions from which the suit arises took place in Florida.

The shooting occurred in Washington, and although there are claims about Alexis demonstrating "psychotic" behavior outside D.C., Delorenzo failed to show that any relevant acts occurred in Florida, according to the ruling.

Merryday also said that the "correct resolution of Delorenzo's claims requires careful and correct analysis of the law of the District of Columbia."

A federal judge in Washington would have an "indisputably" easier time analyzing the case under D.C. law, the court found.

Various points of judicial procedure support the argument for transfer, as well, Merryday wrote.

If the case goes to trial, more witnesses are located in the D.C. area, and a D.C. judge would have greater reign to subpoena unwilling witnesses to testify.

HP also persuaded the court that a trial will move along more efficiently in the district in which the case's underlying action occurred because the witnesses will be more readily available and questions of local law will be easier to resolve.

Merryday concluded that these factors in favor of transfer significantly outweigh the factors favoring retention, which are the plaintiff's choice of forum and the plaintiff's claim that transfer will be a burden.

The United States was originally listed as another defendant in the case, but that count was dismissed.

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