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Judge dismisses Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting lawsuit

There was a legal setback for victims of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting this week as a judge dismissed their lawsuit against the city.

Three people were killed and 17 were wounded when a gunman opened fire at the festival in July of 2019. 

It’s a tragedy that left the community both deeply shaken and heartbroken. 

Shortly after, a group of victims sued the city and the festival for negligence, saying they failed to protect visitors. Arguing that no sturdy perimeter fence was installed and there weren’t enough security guards. 

But this week, a Santa Clara County judge dismissed the case. 

“The grief for me, that doesn’t change, but after four years of this lawsuit pending we’re very relieved that the city of Gilroy and the Garlic Festival Association have been dismissed from these lawsuits,” said Gilroy Mayor Marie Balnkley.

She says she believes the dismissal will help the community heal. 

“This is a very important step as we move forward and I hope that those whose lives have been forever changed understand that none of us will ever be completely over this incident,” said Blankley. 

The victims filing the suit included Wendy Towner. Her attorney is Randall Scarlett who says the judge dismissed the case largely because, “a mass shooting incident was not a reasonably foreseeable risk.” 

“This honorable court, with all due respect, got it wrong,” said Scarlett. “Many of our clients have an excess of $2 million in medical bills and some of our clients are going to require treatment for the rest of their lives. So absolute devastation.”

Scarlett says it’s a bump in the road and the case is not over yet. 

He’ll appeal the judge’s decision and says the decision was a drastic move by the judge and it should be decided by a jury. 

“A jury in Santa Clara County making the determination as to how much security and what efforts they want to be employed at large scale events,” said Scarlett. 

A legal battle sure to continue, stemming from a tragedy that altered this community forever.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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