The family of a Navy SEAL from Las Vegas who was killed in a 2008 training accident at a Mississippi shooting facility is continuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility’s owners after the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling this month.
Alexander Ghane, 22, a special warfare operator second class, was killed Jan. 30, 2008, at the Mid-South Institute of Self-Defense Shooting in Lake Comorant when a bullet penetrated a barrier wall that was supposed to stop rounds. Instead, the bullet went through a wall and struck him above his protective vest.
He had graduated from Sierra Vista High School in 2004 and joined the Navy as a commitment to defending the country after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, his family said.
Ghane’s mother, Narjess, sued Mid-South, JFS, LLC., John Fred Shaw, Donald Ross Sanders Jr., and Jim Cowan for her son’s death. In 2011, a circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants because the judge said her claim would require a trial court to question military policy and operational decisions that limit that court’s authority.
The defendants’ argument that Alexander Ghane had signed a valid liability waiver, however, was denied. The Supreme Court upheld that decision.
Then on Jan. 16, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision on the political-question doctrine, saying in a 26-page ruling that the legal action by Ghane’s family “is based on failure of the ballistic wall, a wall independently designed, constructed and maintained by the defendants.”
“The defendants have failed to demonstrate that military policy and operational decisions are essential to a determination of causation,” the supreme court justices wrote.
Ghane’s family released a statement Monday through a Mississippi attorney, Benjamin L. Taylor, saying they are “extremely pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling.”
“Our Alex was a highly decorated United States Navy SEAL special warfare operator,” the statement reads, noting that he “epitomized the warrior ethos” of placing the mission first, never accepting defeat, and never quitting or leaving a fallen comrade behind.
The family’s statement says the facility’s owners were notified three days before the fatal incident “that their walls may not be ballistic, but chose to dismiss this warning.”
“Corporate greed and cutting corners on a government contract is what caused his death,” the statement reads.
An official for the Mid-South Institute of Self Defense Shooting declined comment Wednesday.
Contact reporter Keith Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0308. Follow him on Twitter @KeithRogers2.