A judge in Franklin County has dismissed the $6 million lawsuit by Vicki Gardner, who survived a shooting at the Bridgewater Plaza back in 2015, according to reports.
The fatalities of the shooting were News Reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward, who were employees of WDBJ and doing an interview with Vicki Gardner, who was the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce when the shooting took place. Gardner stepped down from the position in August of last year.
The gunman who attacked Parker, Ward and Gardner was Vester Lee Flanagan II, who was a former employee for WDBJ and fired in 2013 by WDBJ. After the shooting in 2015, he killed himself during a car chase with police.
According to reports, Gardner’s lawsuit that was filed in 2017 stated “negligent hiring and negligent retention by the station.”
In the case file, it showed that Flanagan was originally hired by WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Florida. He allegedly was fired for bad behavior, which included poor performance, misbehavior regarding co-workers, refuse to follow directions, and verbal abuse of women to the point where they feared for their lives.
WTWC also reported that Flanagan would try and fight employees and threatened to “punch the people out.” Case files also show that WTWC-TV advised their employees to contact authorities or call 911 if they saw Flanagan, while WDBJ allegedly took no such steps in warning or providing security.
Another argument that was made was that if WDBJ had been more careful with the vetting and hiring process, then Flanagan would not have been hired, thus preventing the attack on Parker, Ward and Gardner.
Although the claims were true, the judge felt that WDBJ was not responsible for the attacks that happened.
Case file showed that “WDBJ owed no duty to Ms. Gardner under the facts of these case, no special relationship, and her claim of negligence fails on this ground alone. Even if a relationship existed, Gardner presented no known facts to establish that WDBJ had knowledge of imminent probability of harm, or even that Flanagan’s heinous acts were reasonably foreseeable.”
Gardner’s attorney, Bill Stanley, plans to appeal the decision, according to reports.
Attempts to reach him on Monday for comments were unsuccessful.