TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The parents of a FSU student who was killed when a man opened fire inside Hot Yoga Tallahassee in November 2018 have filed a lawsuit, claiming both the studio and property owner failed to provide proper security on the premises.
Jeff and Margaret Binkley, the parents of 21-year-old Maura Binkley, filed the negligence lawsuit on June 5 against Hot Yoga Tallahassee and Betton Place Partners, a company owned and operated by NAI TalCor owner Ed Murray.
The lawsuit asserts that the yoga studio and the property owner failed to take proper security measures to protect patrons.
According to the suit, the property lacked security guards or operational surveillance cameras throughout the premises, despite the fact that the defendants allegedly "... should have known that numerous criminal incidents had occurred on the Defendant's premises ..."
The family's attorney, Douglas McCarron with the Haggard Law Firm, wrote that the studio and property owner failed to hire or retain security personnel to monitor the area and didn't train employees to protect guests on the property.
The property also lacked proper lighting, didn't have enough working security cameras in the right locations, and didn't have an overall security plan in place.
Furthermore, the suit alleges that the defendants also failed to take action after being put on notice for inadequate security measures. Ultimately, the lawsuit contends that their negligence directly led to the shooting because there was "inadequate and/or nonexistent visible deterrence."
"Criminals could carry out physical assaults on the defendant's premises without fear of being caught, discovered and/or prosecuted," wrote , the lawyer representing the Binkley family in the lawsuit.
Wednesday, we spoke to Ron Sachs who is the spokesperson for Betton Place. He feels the blame in this lawsuit is misplaced.
"This lawsuit is misguided and misdirected," Sachs explained. "That tragedy is not lessened by this lawsuit, it's only compounded by it. There was one bad guy in this situation who acted independently and neither a security guard or security cameras would have stopped him."
Binkley and Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, who was a member of the Tallahassee Memorial medical staff, died as a result of the shooting. Another fiver people were also hurt that night including Joshua Quick, who was hospitalized after attempting to fight off the shooter.
As for the suspsect, police say he killed himself. At the time of the shooting, Tallahassee Police were not able to establish a connection between him and the hot yoga studio.
The family is seeking to recover at least $15,000 in damages. You can read the full lawsuit below.
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