Florida Supreme Court Will Reach Critical Decision on Parkland Shooting
How much will the Broward County School District be forced to pay victims of the Parkland Massacre? This is precisely the question that the Florida Supreme Court will be forced to answer. Since the lawsuit is being brought against the school district, which is an extension of the government, the school district is entitled to sovereign immunity in tort cases. While the state government is not immune from all torts, it places a $200,000 cap on individual claims and a $300,000 cap per incident. This would mean that all of the victims of the Parkland Massacre would be forced to split a whopping $300,000 for the deaths, injuries, and emotional scarring of that day.
At issue here is whether or not the Parkland shooting should be considered one incident or whether or not each injury should count as its own separate incident. The Broward County School District, of course, is arguing that the damages for all claimants should be capped at $300,000 while attorneys for the parents and students injured in the massacre are arguing that each injury should be considered its own separate incident which would afford all the plaintiffs a maximum of $200,000 a piece.
If the Broward County School District is successful in their argument, the only way that the parents could recover more than $300,000 total would be if the legislature passed a “claim” bill authorizing funds to be paid out individually to each of the injured parties.
Claim Bills are Not Uncommon
It is not uncommon for a state legislature to authorize the use of public funds to pay off tort claims in certain cases. Generally speaking, when the issue affects public health and safety or provokes major media ire, the legislature will step in. If the Florida Supreme Court rules that $300,000 aggregate cap does apply in this case, it would not be unlikely that the Florida legislature would step in to help the grieving families recover damages due to the extreme negligence that allowed the Parkland shooting to evolve in the manner that it did.
However, there are still questions as to whether or not an officer of the law or someone acting on the behalf of the state is required to intervene during an active shooting. The Supreme Court of the United States has routinely ruled that police and other officers of the law have no such duty of care.
In this case, that ruling could appear as a slap in the face to the many parents who lost children in the massacre, especially after it was revealed that a school security officer did nothing even after he became aware that there was an active shooting taking place.
Regardless, the legislature has broad discretion when it comes to granting claims and is not beholden to high court decisions in this regard.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney
The Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb P.A. represent those injured by negligence. Give us a call or talk to us online and we can set you up for a free consultation.