Jacob Mitich, a survivor of the deadly shooting at a Madden tournament last weekend that took two lives, is suing both the venue and Madden publisher Electronic Arts for negligence, according to a complaint filed yesterday.
Mitich, who was shot twice, is seeking damages from eight defendants including EA, the Jacksonville Landing shopping centre, and pizza parlour Chicago Pizza, where the tournament took place. The suit alleges that the venue was unsafe and that EA “failed to provide a safe and secure environment” for the participants, among other complaints.
“Like many of his friends, Jacob Mitich travelled to Jacksonville last weekend to do what he loved,” said James Young, an attorney with the personal injury law firm Morgan & Morgan, in a statement accompanying the lawsuit.
“He trusted the event host and organisers, and believed that he was walking into a safe space. 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.
“We are bringing this lawsuit to hold those responsible accountable, and to ensure that gamers like Jake are able to get together to pursue their passion without having to fear for their lives.”
When reached by Kotaku, EA responded with a brief statement: “At this time, we are fully focused on supporting the victims and all those affected by this tragic event.”
This is one of a number of developments that have unfolded over the past week, as the gaming world tries to piece together what happened during Sunday’s deadly massacre.
Early this week, the Daily News reported on Ronald Casey, a Madden player who shielded other players during the attack. On Thursday, EA said it would donate $US1 million ($1.4 million) to victims of the shooting, not long after cancelling the Madden qualifier tournaments that had been scheduled for the coming weeks.
In the lawsuit, Mitich’s attorneys describe Jacksonville Landing as “a hub of dangerous, violent and too often, deadly activity”, citing stabbing and shooting incidents that had happened at the shopping centre over the past few years.
The suit also details Mitich’s harrowing experience during the shooting on Sunday, describing how, while fleeing the scene, he felt pain in his back and leg. “The last thing Plaintiff recalls from this ordeal was the genuine belief that he was going to die,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit does not specify an amount that Mitich is seeking in damages.