Families of Parkland Victims Expected to Sue School Board, Sheriff - NBC 10 Philadelphia
Parkland School Tragedy

Parkland School Tragedy

Marking One Year Since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

Families of Parkland Victims Expected to Sue School Board, Sheriff

More than 20 lawsuits in total expected to be filed starting this week

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    NEWSLETTERS

    MSD Families File New Lawsuits

    A new round of lawsuits were filed Wednesday on behalf of the families who lost loved ones in the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year, attorneys said.

    (Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019)

    A new round of lawsuits were filed Wednesday on behalf of the families who lost loved ones in the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year, attorneys said.

    NBC 6 obtained a draft copy of one of lawsuits which claims the Broward School District, the sheriff’s office and others were negligent and should be held responsible for the deaths of 17 people inside the Parkland school on Feb. 14, 2018.

    Family members said they initially had no plans to sue the school board or sheriff's office, since those agencies had promised to reach a financial settlement with them. They said Wednesday they changed their minds after discovering the sheriff's office and school board were working behind the scenes to prevent any settlement from being approved by the Florida Legislature.

    The families and survivors filed 22 lawsuits.

    Listed at the top of the lawsuit is the school board as the parents allege the district knew confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz was dangerous, but failed to take any reasonable measures to address the risk he posed to their children. They say the school didn’t have the proper procedures for training and supervising school police and security personnel and didn’t have enough of them.

    "Actions speak louder than words and the victims and victims’ families have been very patient," said Todd Michaels of The Haggard Law Firm, who represents the families of Joaquin Oliver and teacher Scott Beigel, in a statement.

    "By its actions to date, it has become clear that the School Board has no intention of taking responsibility the families have asked for, so the patience of these families and survivors who have waited to officially file their lawsuits has ended," he added.

    The district said it doesn't comment on potential, pending or ongoing litigation.

    The families also claim BSO deputies failed to enter the school, locate and neutralize Cruz even though it had the capability to do so. The parents say deputies on the scene didn’t carry out what’s mandated in active shooter situations.

    "The murderer getting on that campus and murdering our beautiful loved ones, this should never happen to another father, another mother, another spouse,” said Max Schachter, whose son Alex was one of the victims in the shooting.

    Former school resource deputy Scot Peterson is also being named in the lawsuit, which alleges Peterson willfully disregarded policies and procedures by remaining outside the school when Cruz was inside the 1200 building, as is campus monitor Andrew Medina, who parents say knew the danger Cruz posed yet he watched him come on the school grounds and followed him in his golf cart but never called a code red on his radio, a call that could have alerted to the imminent danger.

    The Florida Department of Children and Families as well as contractor Henderson Behavioral Health are also named, but Cruz is not.

    "We don't want their deaths to be in vain, they need to live on, and we're doing this for them," said Schachter.

    The families will be seeking damages for the loss of their teens and the mental and emotional trauma they have suffered.