Two years after the tragic shootings in a Pittsburgh-area LA Fitness, victims have filed lawsuits against the Irvine, CA-based company and the estate of the gunman.
LA Fitness and the brother of gunman George Sodini were named in a complaint filed last Friday in Allegheny County (PA) Common Pleas Court, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The complaint was filed by Heather Sherba, who was shot in the right thigh and whose tooth was shattered by another bullet during the Aug. 4, 2009, shootings in Collier Township, PA, that claimed the lives of three women and injured nine other women. About 20 women were taking a Latin impact dance class in a group exercise room at the LA Fitness club when the shootings occurred.
Sherba claims LA Fitness was negligent because an LA Fitness employee had shown Sodini how to switch the lights off in the room prior to the shootings. Sherba named Sodini’s brother, Michael Sodini, who is the executor of his brother’s estate, in the complaint, the newspaper reported. George Sodini took his own life at the end of the rampage.
Last Wednesday, the day before the two-year anniversary of the shootings, another survivor, Srimeenakski Sankar, and the estate of Elizabeth Gannon, one of the three women who were killed, filed writs stating their intention to sue LA Fitness, the newspaper reported. Mary Ellen Buzzelli, another victim who survived, also filed suit against both LA Fitness and George Sodini’s estate.
The Tribune-Review reported that attorneys in the state of Pennsylvania typically have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. Almost all of the shooting victims, including the estates of the two other women killed in the rampage, Heidi Overmier and Jody Billingsley, have lawsuits pending against LA Fitness, Sodini’s estate, or both, the newspaper reported.
LA Fitness declined to comment to Club Industry about the lawsuits.