Department of Justice (DOJ) Announces $144.5 Million Settlement for Cases Involving National Instant Criminal Background Check System


Department of Justice (DOJ) Announces $144.5 Million Settlement for Cases Involving National Instant Criminal Background Check System

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced an agreement in principle to settlements totaling $144.5 million to resolve the civil cases arising out of a mass shooting in November of 2017 at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that killed 26 worshippers and injured 22 others, according to a press release from the DOJ dated April 5, 2023.

The settlements totaling $144.5 million will resolve claims by over 75 plaintiffs from the mass shooting that alleged that the United States Air Force was negligent by failing to transmit information about the shooter to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that would have prevented him from purchasing guns from a federally licensed firearms dealer.

A federal district court in Texas concluded that the United States was liable for damages caused by the mass shooting. The settlement will resolve the pending appeals and settle all claims. The settlement agreement has been approved, subject to the plaintiffs’ securing the required court approvals. Under applicable law, a court must approve some aspects of the settlements.

“No words or amount of money can diminish the immense tragedy of the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta stated in the DOJ press release. “Today’s announcement brings the litigation to a close, ending a painful chapter for the victims of this unthinkable crime.” The DOJ continues to work actively to combat gun violence.

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    Thomas Ahearn - Digital Content Editor

    Thomas Ahearn is a Digital Content Editor at ClearStar, a leading Human Resources (HR) technology company specializing in background checks, drug testing, and occupational health screening. He writes about a variety of topics in the background screening industry including Artificial Intelligence (AI), "Ban the Box," class action lawsuits, credit reports, criminal records, drug testing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Form I-9, identity theft, privacy, social media screening, and workplace violence.

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