Last week’s mass shooting tragedy in Jacksonville, Florida at a bar hosting a tournament for the Madden 19 video game left three people dead and 11 others wounded. Now, one of the victims that was shot twice and survived has filed a lawsuit against EA, the developer/publisher of the football game, and the venue that hosted the tournament. The suit alleges that the game company “failed to provide a safe and secure environment” for the event.
In their investigation following the shooting, Jacksonville fire marshals shut down the pizzeria and its connecting game bar where the tournament was hosted. The authorities not only found that the game room was not included on the approved building plans, but that it also violated a number of fire codes, including blocked exits and poor wiring. The fire marshal’s code violation report concluded that the game should not have existed, and in turn was partly responsible for the tragedy:
“If Chicago Pizza would not have altered the layout plan by creating an unpermitted game room area, the video game tournament would not have occurred, and thus, this incident would not have occurred at the Jacksonville Landing.”
Morgan & Morgan, the personal injury law firm representing victim Jacob Mitich, said “[he] trusted the event host and organizers, and believed that he was walking into a safe space,” in a statement to Kotaku. “That trust was shattered when shots rang out in an over-crowded, since-shut-down, non-permitted space. Combined with an alleged abject failure to provide adequate security, the result was tragic.”
The law firm adds that Mitich is only the first to file suit, and that other victims of the shooting will be moving ahead with lawsuits. There’s no mention of the amount in damages they’re seeking.
EA has not publicly commented on the news of the lawsuit, but the company has already pledged to donate $1 million to the victims of the shooting, as well as cancelled any remaining Madden tournaments.