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Parkland Victims Capped at $300,000 in Sovereign Immunity Dispute

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The families of those who were killed in the Parkland Shooting are challenging a ruling laid down that the Parkland School is protected from tort claims by sovereign immunity. Indeed, sovereign immunity has been in the news for a number of reasons lately. Not only was Jackson Memorial Hospital the beneficiary of sovereign immunity ruling that extended protection from civil liability to a teaching hospital, but the State Fair was the beneficiary of a sovereign immunity ruling in a case where a man was attacked and lost sight in one of his eyes.

Two Questions that Need to be Answered

 The parents of the children who were shot, injured, or killed in the attack have brought a lawsuit against the school district under the premise of negligent security. The insurance company that is representing the school district is claiming that not only should the damages be capped at $300,000 but that the court should treat the attack as one event with multiple victims. In other words, all of the victims—both the children and their families—would only be awarded a lump sum of $300,000 to split amongst themselves.

Sovereign Immunity Does Apply to Public Schools

 In the case of the Parkland shooting, the state is able to protect the school from personal injury claims including wrongful death claims. But they can only limit the damages and force the process to unfold in accord with strict guidelines. In this case, the parents of the victims and those who are still living would have cause to sue the school for wrongful death or other injuries. Even those who were not shot by Nicholas Cruz have cause to make a claim in an injury lawsuit. They likely have post-traumatic stress from having lived through a deadly shooting.

The question then arises: should the government be able to protect itself and agencies that work on behalf of it in this manner? A similar case like this in which the verdict was outrageously unfair spurred the court battle that eventually overturned damage caps in Florida. Can the case brought on behalf of the Parkland shooters do the same?

How Unjust Laws are Overturned

 Many unjust laws are fought in the courts. This was true of the laws that placed damage caps on medical malpractice lawsuits. In cases where a patient was left with catastrophic life-altering injuries, juries were unable to award these patients sums that seemed to fit with the degree of harm they suffered at their doctor’s hands.

In fact, that became the very basis for overturning the law. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that damage caps violated every Floridian’s right to equal protection under the law. If any case shows how sheltering culpable parties from liability with a sovereign immunity clause is unfair and unequally protects its citizens, it’s limiting the entire sum of damages to the victims of the Parkland shooting to a mere $300,000.

Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney

 Alan Goldfarb has represented thousands of injured parties and recovered millions in damages for his clients in Miami. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Give us a call or contact us online to set up and appointment.

Resources:

www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/florida-school-shooting/fl-ne-school-board-liability-motion-20180928-story.html

www.law360.com/articles/1079830/south-florida-fair-has-immunity-against-man-s-injury-suit

www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article215944745.html

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