Mediation ordered in Hot Yoga lawsuits

Jeff Binkley says he refuses to let his daughter's death be in vain.
Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 3:01 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A deadly shooting at a yoga studio stunned Tallahassee two years ago.

FSU student Maura Binkley and Capital Health Plan’s Chief Medical Officer Nancy Van Vessem died after a man opened fire during a Friday evening class.

Four other women were injured.

It happened at Hot Yoga Tallahassee on Nov. 2, 2018.

A student in the class grabbed a vacuum cleaner and fought back against the gunman. Joshua Quick is credited with saving many lives that night as police said the gunman had more than 100 rounds of ammunition with him.

Gunman Scott Beierle, who police say had a history of hating women, ultimately shot and killed himself.

“The pain of this tragedy is still fresh and felt daily by the families and friends of those lost or injured -- and by that crazed gunman’s other innocent victims: including the entire community and all of the good business people and patrons at the Betton Place venues,” said Ron Sachs, a spokesman for Betton Place and what is now Rising Om Yoga. “All still mourn the senseless act by one person and all continue to find strength and healing, together.”

“The pain of those filing the lawsuits is understandable -- but their action only compounds, rather than lessens, the tragedy,” Sachs said.

A pair of civil suits is still pending against the studio and the property owner claiming inadequate security.

The first suit was filed by the Binkley family in June 2019.

Court records show a judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit in August 2020 and ruled the case ready for trial the following month.

The judge has ordered the parties to try to settle the case through mediation before Jan. 15, 2021 or the case will be set for trial.

Court records show a second negligence suit was filed by Daniela Albalat in November 2019. Albalat was shot that day and survived. Her lawsuit claims Beierle was pacing back and forth and acting suspiciously “for approximately 20 minutes” before the shooting and no one at the studio confronted him or reported it. Court records show that suit is still pending.

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