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Was The Florida Shooting A Case Of Wrongful Death?

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The tragedy that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th resulted in the death of 17 people, most of whom were young, teenage children. Several teachers were also killed while throwing themselves in front of the students to protect them.

Naturally, people want to know what can be done differently to avoid tragedies like this in the future, and this inevitably involves looking at whether there were warning signs, as well as people and agencies that could have prevented it from happening. If indeed there were warning signs, can any of the tragic deaths be considered wrongful deaths? Below, we discuss this claim in greater detail.

Florida Department Had Been Notified About Nikolas Cruz

Investigative documents have revealed that the Florida Department of Children and Families had previously visited the home of the accused shooter (Nikolas Cruz), noting that Cruz was suffering from ADHD, autism, and depression, and that he had posted on Snapchat that he had plans to “go out and buy a gun.” The agency closed the investigation several weeks later, taking no issue with what it found.

The FBI Was Warned As Well

The FBI also apologized after the shooting, admitting that tips were called in describing very specific concerns that Cruz planned to shoot up a school in September 2017 and January 2018. Cruz had also purchased seven rifles just within the last year.

Wrongful Death Litigation Over School Shooting

School officials have previously been sued for wrongful death in connection with school shootings. Specifically, plaintiffs in these cases alleged that these officials were guilty of conscious disregard, malice, and willful and wanton conduct, in spite of the blanket immunity afforded school employees under many state laws. They also alleged that school officials failed to warn the school about the shooter’s instability and propensity to commit violent acts towards others. The school district was also accused of failing to have the proper safety equipment and features that could have prevented the tragedy. The judge allowed claims to proceed against former school district employees including the then-School Superintendent, then-Manager of Operations, and then-High School Principal, as well as both assistant principals. 

Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys

Tragic incidents like these will often not only lead us to question our gun laws, but also what exactly is “negligence,” and who has a responsibility to say something if they see something. These families will never get their loved ones back, and that includes not only the many children who were killed, but the teachers who put themselves in harms way protecting the students, and who will never be with their families again as a result. Are there circumstances where shootings like this are the result of negligence, recklessness, and/or misconduct? I think many would argue that, yes, there are.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of negligence, contact our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Friedland & Associates in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today to find out how we can help.

Resources:

cbsnews.com/news/nikolas-cruz-florida-school-shooting-new-details-emerge-dcf/

news-herald.com/article/HR/20170831/NEWS/170839876

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