Via @DavidJNeal and @JayHWeaver
Parents of students killed and injured in the 2018 mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have filed more than 20 lawsuits, alleging negligence by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Broward County School Board and Henderson Behavorial Health and “willful and wanton negligence” against former BSO school resource officer Scot Peterson and campus monitor Andrew Medina.
A phalanx of lawyers representing the victims’ families said Wednesday that they were forced to sue after BSO and the School Board reneged on their initial commitment to help resolve financial claims for their losses. The teams of attorneys and families decided to go to court after learning that the School Board hired lobbyists in Tallahassee to thwart their efforts to collect damages in a claims bill before the Florida Legislature.
Lawyers would not disclose the exact amount sought by the parents.
A Broward County Public Schools spokesperson said BCPS doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits.
Peterson’s attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, said, “We are confident that any lawsuit related to the Parkland shooting lacks merit; we will vigorously contest the factual and legal assertions made therein.”
Attorney Todd Michaels, who is representing the family of deceased teacher Scott Beigel, said the BSO and School Board initially said they wanted “to help bring justice.”
“What we’ve learned in the past 14 months is that they have no intent to help,” Michaels said at a news conference at the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Kelley/Uustal. “They hired a law firm to lobby behind the scenes against the interests of the victims.”
BCPS Chief Public Information Officer Kathy Koch disagreed with that. While having no comment the substance of n the lawsuit, Koch said BCPS brought in lobbying law firm GrayRobinson to help with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Compensation Fund. She claims neither BCPS or GrayRobinson worked against the fund.
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