ORLANDO, Fla. – A British conglomerate being sued by survivors of the Florida nightclub shooting says it had nothing to do with the gunman's "terrible actions," according to a response to the lawsuit filed this week.
G4S PLC says it never directly employed gunman Omar Mateen as a security guard; its subsidiary, G4S Secure Solutions, did. The conglomerate argued in the response filed Monday that it should be dropped from the lawsuit.
The parent company said that its subsidiary acted independently and that it didn't have operational control over it.
"G4S ... was not involved with any aspect of Mateen's employment," said the response filed in state court in South Florida.
The victims' lawsuit contends Mateen's employer could have stopped the attack before last year's massacre at the gay nightclub in which 49 patrons were killed in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The complaint said that G4S bosses knew Mateen was mentally unstable yet continued to employ him as a security guard and didn't seek to have his firearms license revoked, even after he was investigated by the FBI in 2013 for telling co-workers he had connections to terrorists and a mass shooter.
The subsidiary said in its response earlier this month that the lawsuit should be dismissed since Mateen wasn't working for them at the time and didn't use their weapons. The subsidiary said that the lawsuit failed to show G4S Secure Solutions had any legal duty to the survivors and the families of the deceased.
"Thus, while G4S's employees and their families want nothing more than for Mateen's victims and their families to find some semblance of peace, this misguided lawsuit is not the answer," said the response.
Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, originally was named as a defendant but she was dropped from the lawsuit. Salman, however faces criminal charges in federal court. She has pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting her husband and obstructing the investigation. Her trial is set for next March.