Florida Supreme Court Rules Against Parkland Families, Limits Total Damages to $300,000

Parkland school shooting

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

An initial lawsuit was filed against the Parkland School district by a group of survivors and families of some of those killed in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. That case was dismissed by a federal court judge who ruled that the plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment right to due process had not been violated.

Another lawsuit was then filed by a different group of plaintiffs in state court against the school district, the Broward County Sheriff and the Broward Coward himself, Scot Peterson. In that lawsuit, the plaintiffs tried to make the case that each round fired by the shooter that day constituted a separate shooting as a way around the state’s sovereign immunity limits.

From the Miami Herald:

…attorneys for families and victims contended that the shots were separate occurrences and that each plaintiff filing a claim against the school board should be able to receive $200,000.

But the Florida Supreme court didn’t buy that argument. In a unanimous ruling today . . .

…[T]he court said mass shootings should be viewed as a single “incident or occurrence,” effectively placing a sharp limit on how much government agencies can be forced to pay under a state sovereign-immunity law. …

“The phrase ‘same incident or occurrence’ is most reasonably understood as referring to the criminal event as a whole, not to the smaller segments of time and action that make up the crime against each individual victim, because this is the way that we commonly talk about this type of tragic occurrence — as a single event with multiple victims,” the ruling said. “Additionally, this reading fits most naturally given the context of [a subsection of the law], which is designed to limit the state’s liability to a set amount for all claims arising out of an ‘incident or occurrence,’ after which all claimants must seek additional compensation from the Legislature.”

As a result, the Parkland plaintiffs maximum award is limited to a total of $300,000 split among the all of the plaintiffs. As the court wrote . . .

Today’s decision in no way devalues the lives of those injured or killed as a result of mass shootings, or the harm suffered as a result of such tragedies. It is a decision that is rendered within the narrow confines of Florida law relating to the Legislature’s limited waiver of sovereign immunity. Further, nothing precludes the parties from seeking a claims bill from the Legislature for compensation in excess of the sovereign immunity damage caps in subsection….

In order for the plaintiffs to collect more than the $300,000 maximum, they . . .

would need to convince the Legislature to pass what are known as “claim” bills. In such bills, the Legislature can direct government agencies to pay more than what is allowed under sovereign-immunity law.

That is, by its nature, a difficult hill to climb.

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Montana Actual says:

    HAHA Suck it hogg. Funny how there was news about dems challanging the loss in the election months ago and now all the sudden hogg’s twitter feed is full of shit like this:

    https://twitter.com/davidhogg111/status/1309260475079766016

    Complaining about challenging the results lol. These idiots truly believe that taking guns from innocents will stop gun violence, and that it’s okay for the left to disagree with election results, but not the right.

  2. avatar The Huscarl says:

    Hey TTAG, this centered format is incredibly ugly. Please unfuck it. Holy shit.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I second the motion to undo this center-justified format on this website.

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      You guys see this too? I was convinced it was glitching on my side. Who the F would do this on purpose?

      1. avatar Debbie W. says:

        I clicked reload and text went from aligned center to aligned left. Appears fixed.

        1. avatar Bob in Calif says:

          This font sucks. Harder to read. And the text in the comment is so small I need a magnifier to proof read. Oh, that’s right, a lot of folks don’t proof before posting so I guess that makes it alright. You had a good thing and just had to F with it.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Dan Zimmerman, please revert the font back to the classic style. This one is hard on the eyes.

        3. avatar All Hail! says:

          Yes Dan Zimmerman please acquiesce to the reasonable request of the incomparable ‘I Haz A Question’. As it was, is and ever shall be!

          All Hail.

    3. avatar rosignol says:

      Seconded again.

      I know y’all want to keep the site fresh, but this looks like @$$.

    4. avatar Megapoop2000 says:

      Yeah. And some text in the shape balloon animals and some ZJs for my friends for fucks sake

  3. avatar Hannibal says:

    oh god why

    make it stop

  4. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    Good Lord!

    No reason for this centered text..

    MADNESS

  5. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Awe what ever will the sock puppet Hogg boy and Demanding Commie Mommy’s do now that were shutdown, who cares.

  6. avatar Debbie W. says:

    RE: [T]he court said mass shootings should be viewed as a single “incident or occurrence,” effectively placing a sharp limit on how much government agencies can be forced to pay under a state sovereign-immunity law.”

    This “state sovereign-immunity law” maybe the the reason those who lured gullible parents to leave their children beneath “Gun Free Zone Signs” did not sue those who plastered those invitations for carnage all over the schoolyard. Instead they went on a witch hunt and found an inanimate object, its makers and those who possess such objects and put it and them on trial. Rest assured if the deranged accusers could have rounded up everyone of the accused they would have hung them all. If you think it’s only guns they hate you are fooling yourself.

    TRUMP/PENCE 2020.

  7. avatar Ron says:

    Personally I think the families should be allowed to sue the incompetent sheriff and his staff, due to their embarrassing response to the attack. During which, they completely violated the current State of Florida training on the response to mass shooters. Not just the officers on the ground but the dispatchers who told them on audio recording to not enter the school.

    Current training in Florida and the vast majority of states, and the federal government, dictate to respond to the shooter as fast as possible and meet and engage the shooter as fast as possible, to even disregard casualties to focus on speed of engagement of the shooter. This policy was clearly neglected. The department should be liable and those involved she be held personally liable as well, so they must pay out of their own pocket.

    1. Please do not forget 0b0ma, his Anti Discipline Directive caused this. Of course there is the dep of Ed, NAACP, and I think it was the fbi or doj that also had a hand in this.
      School to Prison Pipeline turns into 0b0ma School to Graveyard Pipline

  8. avatar DaveL says:

    I always say that being the government is like being in love – it means never having to say you’re sorry.

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    Never saw why the school was being held hostage when the cops so totally dropped the ball.

    1. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      The murderer was making almost daily death threats to a handful of students at the school. The school did nothing. The school has responsibility as much as the law enforcement agencies that ignored the murderer’s domestic violence, felony level animal abuse, reports from his family that he wanted to massacre his schoolmates, etc.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        The school isn’t law enforcement but they did call BCSO. 37 times the cops made contact with him. Not all or even many were from the school calling but the cops needed to act and so did the people he lived with.

        When he committed assault in the home that should have been enough.

        1. avatar Mister Fleas says:

          No, it the police were called out 45 or 46 times to the murderer’s residence for domestic violence the murderer participated in, so it was worse than that.

          I was going to disagree with you about the school, but it turns the school expelled him before the attack, so you are right.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    How many Parkland families voted for the sheriff who aided and abetted the killing of their children?

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Choose wisely next time.

  11. avatar Darkman says:

    all I’ve got to say is. CHANGE THIS FUGLY FONT…IT Sucks ASS. Whew… just had to get that off my chest…Now back to the Circus.

  12. avatar Curmudgeon says:

    They want to define each shot as a separate event for litigation but something tells me they will still scream about the mass shooting events made easier by “large capacity” magazines and “assault rifles”.

    1. avatar Anymouse says:

      Each victim (or estate) filing separately makes more sense. It wasn’t a single, instantaneous event, like a bomb. Actions or inactions at certain times had effects of subsequent victims. The coward wasn’t at the location where the shooting started and he isn’t Superman or the Flash, so his cowardice isn’t a factor for anyone shot before he reached the door. It definitely is a factor for anyone shot while he was standing outside and listening to the slaughter. Similarly, the sheriff department securing the perimeter instead of going inside only applies to kids shot after they had arrived. Only ineffective policies by the school district or sheriff’s department affects all victims.

  13. avatar Dog of War says:

    I kind of want to make fun of these people for trying to make money off the loss of their kids… but even a sh*t-poster like me finds it a bit distasteful. At the same time though the case they tries to make in court is so f’in’ ridiculous that I can’t believe they tried it. I got no sympathy for them and I’m glad that they lost.

  14. avatar sound awake says:

    policing will get better only when those responsible can be sued in open court in cases like this where people died as a result of repeated and purposeful gross negligence and criminal incompetence and can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt
    not the rank and file beat cops as much as those near the top that decide who gets arrested for what and who gets charged with what and who gets released on bail and for how much and who gets sentenced and for how long

  15. Here’s a sentence I would have bet big money that I’d never write:

    This typeface is so ugly I would prefer Comic Sans.

    Hell, I’d rather see monospace console.

    1. avatar The Rookie says:

      I’m a Dom Casual man, myself.

      BTW – “Be Seeing You!”

  16. While I don't like the court's decision, it is correct. The court's job is to decide challenged civil and criminal cases based on the laws that the legislature passed and the governor signed as understood by a reasonable person. That's what they did.

  17. avatar Geoff "The witch finally met her bucket of water" PR says:

    “In order for the plaintiffs to collect more than the $300,000 maximum, they . . .

    would need to convince the Legislature to pass what are known as “claim” bills. In such bills, the Legislature can direct government agencies to pay more than what is allowed under sovereign-immunity law.

    That is, by its nature, a difficult hill to climb.”

    In somewhat-conservative Florida, yeah. In some northern Leftist or west-coast Hell-Hole, maybe…

  18. avatar GS650G says:

    It should be difficult to change the law to provide a gazzilion dollars of taxpayer money for acts of madmen. Not an emotional event doused with politics.

  19. avatar Nonips says:

    It’s about time they put a limit on these suits the only problem I have is it’s whites that are limited while these blacks gets millions and their lose was in most cases a criminal, this Wrong this has to stop, these were children not yet a burden to family, state, or country, were this blacks a criminals, that even caused the problem, this judge needs to rethink if a black get millions so should whites, if an innocent child double it if a criminal minus it that is right and fair wish it would never happen but we have evil and to many evilness is not eradicated

  20. avatar Sue the police chief,and officers involved then hang them and woodchip the garbage! says:

    Sue the shit out of everyone involved with Israel the sheriff

  21. avatar enuf says:

    Limiting damages when elected, appointed or hired officials fail so horribly is wrong. There should be no limit set on damages against these blithering morons who enabled an insane person to slaughter children.

    Being unable to imprison them for their incompetence, failures to act, outright cowardice too, destroying them financially is all that is left.

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