Jackson, Mississippi -- A federal appeals court
has ruled a lawsuit against Lockheed Martin over a workplace shooting that left
six employees dead in Meridian, Mississippi, as a workers' compensation case.
The designation, under Mississippi law, would limit damage awards to about $150,000 for each
victim. The shooting victims and their families earlier sued the company,
claiming Lockheed's management knew employee Doug Williams' racist views had
created a volatile work environment but did too little to defuse the situation.
The lawsuit sought unspecified damages. On July 8th, 2003, Doug Williams killed
six co-workers and injured nine others before committing suicide. The U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated the shooting and said
Williams created a "racially charged atmosphere" at the plant. Lockheed Martin said its
management had no way of knowing that Williams would go on a shooting spree,
and asked the court to consider the case under workers' compensation