They say the company acted carelessly and was negligent when it gave Engeldinger advance notice about his possible firing and allowed him to go to his vehicle. They also say Accent Signage was negligent for employing Engeldinger for years, despite his prior conduct, and argue that the company should have taken security precautions that it didn't and trained its employees how to fire someone.
"A reasonable employer in Accent's position would have, among other things, provided adequate security on its premises, locked its doors, monitored Engeldinger, and would have attempted to terminate Engeldinger in a safe manner," the lawsuit contends.
"They should've had security. They didn't take action. They knew they had a problem employee," Villaume said. "We have reason to believe that he was planning this for a long period of time. He was going through gun training at a gun range and had become quite proficient, if you will, at handling a handgun."
Engeldinger was hired in 1999 and worked in Accent's engraving department. Beneke, a sculptor and painter, was hired in 2005 as an engraver and was promoted to supervisor.
The lawsuit says Engeldinger was frequently intoxicated at work and drank on the job. It says he held personal animosity toward Beneke, and Beneke often called Engeldinger his "nemesis." The company's owner, also killed in the attack, told Beneke of Engeldinger's firing in advance.
The lawsuit alleges Beneke knew Engeldinger was prone to violence and was fearful on the day of Engeldinger's firing. Beneke drove a different vehicle to work and told his wife, "It's good I'll have the truck, because if he (Engeldinger) goes crazy, he won't recognize that I have a different car," the family contends.