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Parkland families will have to share no more than $300,000 in mass shooting lawsuit against school district, court rules

By Nelson Oliveira, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the school district where the Parkland mass shooting took place more than two years ago does not have to pay more than $300,000 in combined damages to the victims' families.

Attorneys for survivors and families of the 17 students and staff killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018 had asked the court to consider each gunshot as a separate incident, arguing that each plaintiff was entitled to receive $200,000, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

But the limit under Florida state law is $300,000, which the court said should be divided among all victims, according to the paper.

One of the most vocal parents who lost a child in the tragedy, Fred Guttenberg, slammed the decision on Thursday, telling the Sentinel that Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie "is doing everything he can to avoid any responsibility to the families, while he still gets to stay in his job."

Runcie has yet to address the court's decision.

The panel noted in its ruling that the only way for the families to receive more money is for the state Legislature to pass "claim" bills," which would direct the district to pay more than what they're liable for.

The decision comes days after another high-profile ruling involving the school.

 

Cop fired for hiding during Parkland school shooting to be reinstated »

An arbitrator ruled last week that a Broward County sheriff's deputy who had been fired over his lack of action during the shooting can be reinstated. Josh Stambaugh, the second officer to have his firing overturned, got his job back thanks to a technicality.

He was fired 193 days after the Parkland internal investigation was finished, but state law says that an officer must be disciplined no later than 180 days after the completion of a probe.

The killing spree, carried out by Nikolas Cruz, is the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, leaving 17 people dead and 17 wounded.

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