Lawsuits are mounting over the mass shooting committed by Esteban Santiago-Ruiz at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6, 2017.
Fort Lauderdale-based law firm Di Pietro Partners filed suit Thursday against Delta Air Lines, Broward County, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Allied Universal Corp., the parent company of AlliedBarton, the private contractor employed by Broward County to secure and protect the airport.
It preceded a new lawsuit a day later, on Friday, by the same firm.
The initial suit was filed on behalf of Ann B. Andres, the widow of Terry Michael Andres, one of five victims claimed by Santiago-Ruiz’s rampage. The plaintiff in Friday morning’s suit, Kari K. Oehme, also lost her husband, Michael John Oehme, in the attack.
Both complaints allege that all named parties are liable for Terry Michael Andres’ wrongful death, contending that “they were negligent, careless, wanton, and reckless in failing to develop, implement, and maintain adequate airline and airport security systems,” in addition to failing “to implement reasonable and effective security measures to deter and prevent individuals from easily accessing dangerous and deadly weapons capable of causing injury or death.” Andres, Oehme and their attorneys are seeking damages under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act.
These latest suits follow earlier litigation by Di Pietro Partners against the same parties on behalf of Timothy Woltering, the son of victim Olga Woltering. David Di Pietro, the managing partner at the firm, expressed to the Daily Business Review that although all three suits have been filed separately, his firm intends to consolidate discovery orders to streamline the process.
“[We don't anticipate] a class action suit, but we’re going to try to keep the cases as closely litigated as we can,” Di Pietro said. “We are also going to work with another attorney, Brad Edwards, [who is representing another survivor of the shooting] and consolidate his case as well.”
Delta Air Lines representative Morgan Durrant told the Daily Business Review “we are looking into it,” adding no further comment.
When reached for comment Broward Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Keyla Concepción declined to weigh in, citing the office’s policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
Likewise, Angela Burrell, public relations manager for Allied Universal, declined to comment, also citing company policy.
René D. Harrod, the assistant county attorney for Broward County, told the Daily Business Review that the county had yet to received official notification of the lawsuit.
“We have not yet been served in the action. We’ll review the allegations as soon as we’re served,” Harrod said.