Parkland Survivors’ Families Sue School Board, Sheriff For Negligence

Flowers, candles and mementos sit outside one of the makeshift memorials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 27, 2018. Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school will reopen o... Flowers, candles and mementos sit outside one of the makeshift memorials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 27, 2018. Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school will reopen on February 28, 2018 two weeks after 17 people were killed in a shooting by former student, Nikolas Cruz, leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured on February 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Survivors and family members of the slain victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, sued the school board, sheriff’s office and others for negligence Wednesday, saying the agencies initially had promised a financial settlement but secretly worked behind the scenes to prevent a deal.

More than two dozen family members and survivors filed 22 lawsuits in state court in South Florida against the School Board of Broward County; the Broward Sheriff’s Office; former deputy Scott Peterson, who was a school resource officer; Andrew Medina, who was a school security monitor; and Henderson Behavioral Health Clinic, a mental health facility where suspect Nikolas Cruz was treated.

Cruz is accused of fatally shooting 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

“It’s a daily struggle. They are not the people they were before February 14,” Lisa Olson, whose son, William, was shot in each arm, said at a news conference. “My son didn’t go to school today. He couldn’t and we have many days like that now.”

Cathleen Brennan, a school district spokeswoman, said the district doesn’t comment on pending or ongoing litigation. The sheriff’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cruz, 20, a former student at the school, remains jailed, charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder. He has offered to plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table. Prosecutors have refused.

Immediately after the shooting, the families of the victims were approached by the sheriff’s office and school board representatives “who said all the right things. They wanted to be a part of the solution…They wanted to help bring justice. We took them at their word,” said Todd Michaels, attorney for the family of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed.

Instead, the agencies hired a law firm to lobby the Florida Legislature behind the scenes to stop the resolution, Michaels said.

Mitch Dworet, who lost one son in the shooting and another son was injured, said he wants someone to be held accountable.

“There were failures,” Dworet said. “I want to be in court.”

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Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for Bri2k Bri2k says:

    It’s a pity they couldn’t sue the sheriff for cowardice too.

  2. Avatar for paulw paulw says:

    Instead, the agencies hired a law firm to lobby the Florida Legislature behind the scenes to stop the resolution, Michaels said.

    Just what is the budget line for that expenditure?

  3. Sandy Hook families are going to sue gun manufacturers. This gun is what killed their children

    Financial documents filed by Remington with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that increasing sales of the Bushmaster AR-style rifles was one of the company’s highest priorities in 2009. That year, a Remington executive’s bonus was tied to implementing a plan for the company to hit specific sales targets for the Bushmaster weapon like the one legally purchased by the gunman’s mother. The executive exceeded the company’s target for 2009.

  4. Damn I hope they win that suit…

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