Fort Myers, Florida was the host of an annual Halloween-themed event late last year known as Zombicon. The event is a charity event that both celebrates the attendees’ affinity for zombie-themed horror film and fiction, while also raising money for things like blood drives and food donations. What was supposed to be a fun and entertaining public event took a regrettable turn for the worst when an attendee of the event suddenly and without warning began to open fire on the guests of the event. This resulted in a terrible tragedy, leaving one dead and five others wounded. Police still have not found any suspects to hold responsible for this heinous crime.
The family of the deceased is pursuing legal action against the organizers of the event. The lawsuit alleges that the organizers, Pushing Daizies, did not exercise proper caution to their duty to uphold a safe environment for their guests. Also, that the organizers knowingly neglected to enact sufficient security measures to keep the guests of the event safe. In essence, even though the event planners did not fire the gun, they were irresponsible enough to allow the gunman to enter the premises with a loaded, deadly weapon and open fire. The lawsuit names both the organizers and their hired security as defendants and seeks compensation for the young man’s death.
There has since been a second lawsuit opened earlier this year, coming from one of the attendees who suffered injuries from the gunman. This lawsuit alleges again that the event organizers did not have proper security measures. Several news reports from when the shooting took place, argue that due to the nature of some of the thematic elements of the event, particularly the theme of survival in a post-apocalyptic world, may have contributed to the events. Many attendees chose to incorporate fake firearm props into their costumes. For security, it can be difficult to discern what is fake and what is real. However, the claim alleges that a stricter policy on firearms or stricter security practices could have prevented this tragedy from taking place.
These lawsuits, at their core, rest on the doctrine of negligence. The promoters owed a duty to their guests to create a safe environment for the event to take place. The plaintiffs bringing suit are claiming that this duty was breached when they negligently took a relaxed stance on the weaponry props of the attendees; this breach caused the gunman to have an avenue to open fire upon the guests, and the guests were injured, leaving one dead.