A lawsuit against Amazon demands accountability from the e-commerce giant and justice for two of its Amazon Flex drivers who were shot in Atlanta while making deliveries.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Hilliard Martinez Gonzales announced that they filed a lawsuit Wednesday (March 23) on behalf of the injured drivers, Eduardo Gutierrez and Lawyer Denson, who is now paralyzed.
According to the lawsuit, among other things, Amazon failed to provide company-branded materials, such as safety vests with Amazon’s logo, to the independent drivers that would identify them as Amazon workers. It seeks at least $400 million in damages.
“These two men were seriously injured while working for Amazon, one of the largest and wealthiest businesses in the world. Amazon has a moral obligation to do more to protect its employees,” Crump stated.
BET.com contacted Amazon, but the company did not comment directly on the lawsuit.
Spokewoman Kelly Nantel said, “We’re aware of this terrible incident, and express our deepest sympathies to the two drivers involved. In addition, we offer our support to them both and to law enforcement as they investigate these crimes.”
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On Jan. 13 at about 7 p.m., Gutierrez delivered a package to Keontae Guthridge’s residence in Northwest Atlanta, the lawsuit states. Guthridge allegedly fired five times at Gutierrez as he walked back to his vehicle. Four bullets struck the car and one hit his stomach.
Later that evening, Denson delivered packages to the same address, according to the lawsuit. Guthridge allegedly fired at him, hitting the driver’s spinal cord. Paramedics transported him to Grady Memorial Hospital.
Both men survived their injuries. However, Denson’s spinal column injury left him paralyzed.
“Life is definitely different. It’s been tough but I just got to keep working forward, keep moving forward,” Local Atlanta station WGCL quoted Denson who also said he was blessed to be alive.
Guthridge mistook the delivery drivers for burglars, WGCL reported, citing a police warrant. He was reportedly robbed two weeks prior to the shooting.
The lawsuit says Amazon was negligent and shares some of the blame for failing to take simple steps that could have prevented the shooting. For one thing, Amazon, one of the world’s richest companies, could have provided the flex drivers, who use their own cars, with vehicles or attire with the company’s logo.
The lawsuit accuses the company of not using appropriate industry-wide tracking software. “Amazon failed to use software which tracks deliveries and notifies customers when a driver is approaching their residence,” the lawsuit alleges.
Crump stated, “Neither of the men were given Amazon-branded materials or sufficient training, which directly led to this dangerous and tragic situation. We demand justice for these men and their families, and we will not stop demanding change and accountability from Amazon until we are certain that this will not happen again.”