U.S. Security Associates to Pay More Than $46M for Negligence

A jury found U.S. Security Associates negligent in the deaths of two Kraft Food employees who were fatally shot by a coworker in 2010.

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Security Associates (USSA) must pay more than $46.5 million to the families of two Kraft Food employees, who were fatally shot by a disgruntled co-worker, after a jury found the security firm negligent in the deaths of the two women.

In February, a jury found USSA negligent in the deaths of Tanya Wilson, 47, and LaTonya Brown, 36, and awarded their families $8.02 million in compensatory damages. On March 25, a jury then awarded the families $38.5 million in punitive damages, bringing the total to more than $46.5 million, NBC Philadelphia reports.

In 2010, Yvonne Miller, who had been suspended from her job, came to the Kraft Foods campus with a .357 Magnum and fatally shot Wilson and Brown. Hiller also shot and injured a third co-worker. Hiller was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and is serving life in prison.

The lawsuit filed against USSA claimed two security guards failed to protect individuals at the Kraft plant during the shooting, noting that the guards failed to warn employees in the several minutes it took Hiller to walk to a third floor mixing room where the two victims worked.

Court documents reveal that the guards called 911; however, they didn’t take further actions to warn Kraft management, such as using a radio to communicate with the employees or sounding a warning through the plant’s public address system.

Furthermore, video surveillance footage showed a USSA worker running and hiding in a boiler room during the incident.

A spokeswoman from USSA released the following statement on the verdict:

U.S. Security Associates believes that its personnel on duty on the night of the North Philadelphia shooting made reasonable decisions and acted with courage in the face of a direct threat to their own lives. In no sense did they or USSA display an intentional disregard for the safety of others. We are disappointed in today’s verdict and intend to appeal on the grounds that the evidence presented was not sufficient for a punitive damages award to be granted under well-established Pennsylvania law.

At the same time, the people of USSA sympathize deeply with the families of Tanya Renee Wilson and LaTonya Sharon Brown, the two women who died in the shooting, and with Bryant Dalton, who was severely wounded.

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