Christopher Sparkman, who was critically injured in a 2014 shooting at a Cobb County FedEx facility, has filed a lawsuit against the company, WSB was first to report on Monday.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Gwinnett County Superior Court, accuses FedEx of negligence and gross negligence, the Associated Press reported.
“The complaint accuses FedEx officials of knowing (shooter Geddy) Kramer was mentally unstable before the shooting but failing to intervene. The suit seeks lost wages, medical expenses, compensation for pain and suffering and more,” AP reported.
Fed Ex issued this statement: “While FedEx has not been served the complaint yet, we remain deeply sympathetic to Mr. Sparkman and his family. The tragic and unexpected events that occurred in Marietta a year ago were traumatic for many people, but were not caused by FedEx. Our top priority continues to be providing a safe and secure work environment.”
Sparkman’s wife, Jamie Lynn Sparkman, alluded to the possibility of legal action in a recent post on the web site she uses to keep supporters updated.
“Many people have asked what they can do for us during this time – and we simply answer that prayers and financial assistance are the only options right now,” she wrote in March. “With possible litigation in the future, we know that our lives are going to continue to be stressed in all areas, and we thank you all for the support that you all give to us daily.”
Sparkman was unarmed. At the time his father-in-law said he “didn’t stand a chance” when Kramer burst in, barrels blazing.
FedEx was among numerous large Tennessee corporations that spoke out in 2012 against Tennessee legislation aimed at allowing employees “with valid permits to keep firearms stored in their vehicles while at work,” according to the Nashville Business Journal, MSN,TNReport and other media outlets covering the issue at the time.
According to TNReport.com’s March 7, 2012 coverage:
“Mark Hogan, vice president of security for FedEx, said the company believes an employer’s right to decide what is allowed on its property trumps an individual’s right to carry a firearm onto that property. He repeated a common theme expressed throughout the hearings, that allowing guns in parking lots adds volatility to possible confrontations. ‘FedEx should be allowed to continue to implement policies that are designed to protect our employees from irrational or heat-of-the-moment actions by their co-workers,’ he said. ‘Allowing employees to have near, immediate access to firearms, at work, creates an element of risk that is unacceptable.’”
FedEx was joined by representatives of Bridgestone and Volkwagen’s Chattanooga operations, the Nashville Business Journal reported on March 6, 2012.
“Their message: Bills that the National Rifle Association are pushing compromise companies’ constitutional property rights, jeopardize employment policies and create the potential for workplace tragedy,” the Nashville Business Journal reported.
The Sparkmans met through a church youth group and he asked her out on their first date while he was still deployed to Kuwait with the Army.
“Lives can change in an instant,” Jamie Lynn Sparkman wrote on the one-year anniversary of the shooting. “Ours certainly have. May we never lose sight of the reasons why God spared lives that morning April 29, 2014. Please, say a prayer for all of the people involved in the shooting one year ago today. Although Chris and I still struggle physically and emotionally, April 29 is now a great reminder for my family that the greatest gift we’ll ever receive is a chance at life.
She also asked for prayers for the family of her husband’s assailant:”Christopher and I would like to ask you all to join my family in a special prayer for the Kramers, who lost their son (and brother) one year ago today. We are truly sorry for your loss.”
A Thomasville native, Christopher Sparkman joined the Army in 2009 and was pursuing a career in air traffic control at the time of the shooting.
He has undergone around 40 surgeries and faces more. In February, his wife posted the harrowing news that he had been placed in a medically induced coma due to complications from one of the procedures.
“Please say a prayer for us,” she wrote at the time. “Surgeons hoped to have repaired complications in OR. Chris remains in a medically induced coma until further notice. Mentally, he can’t take much more. We need your prayers.”
Sparkman has improved some since then and was able to come home again, but he faces more procedures in the future and a long road to recovery. A U.S. Army veteran, he’s twice been denied disability benefits, Jamie Lynn has said.
Newlyweds at the time of the shooting, the young couple has struggled financially.
“It’s quite honestly very difficult, and embarrassing for us to ask for help,” Jamie Lynn posted earlier this year. “I had to leave my job to care for Chris. He has been denied disability from the government twice. Our only source of income has been small weekly benefits of workman’s comp from Allied Barton, and the benevolent gifts you all have given.”