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Verdicts & Settlements

Parkland Shooting Families Settle Negligence Lawsuit with Justice Department

— November 23, 2021

The lawsuit noted that the F.B.I. had received numerous reports about shooter Niklas Cruz in the weeks before the incident, with one tipster saying they thought Cruz was about to “shoot up a school.”

The families of more than a dozen victims of the Parkland school shooting have reached a settlement with the Justice Department following allegations that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not act upon tips it had received about the gunman prior to the massacre.

According to National Public Radio, attorneys for the families and federal government announced on Monday that they had reached an agreement to settle all open claims.

While publicly-released court documents do not include any financial figure, an anonymous source told N.P.R. that the settlement may total around $130 million.

As has reported before, the shooting took place on February 14th, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Gunman Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school, opened fire inside, killing 17 people and wounding 17 more.

Family members of some of the victims say that the federal government—including the F.B.I.—should have investigated Cruz long before the killings. Numerous community members had submitted tips to the F.B.I., saying that Cruz was amassing weapons, posting disturbing, violent material on social media, and had publicly indicated a desire to commit a school shooting.

An image of accused Parkland, FL, shooter Nikolas Cruz being arrested. Cruz’s rampage through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sparked a national debate on firearms control and the place of guns in schools. Image via Wikimedia Commons/Coconut Creek Police Department. Listed as public domain.

Several weeks before the incident, a tipster told the F.B.I. that Cruz was “going to explode,” and that he wanted to “slip into a school and start shooting the place up.”

The Justice Department, adds CNN, had earlier told the court that the families “causation theory is based on pure speculation that special agents in the Miami Field Office would have been able to prevent Cruz from committing his heinous act. Not only is such a theory speculative, but it necessarily relies on an impermissible stacking of inferences regarding how an investigation would have led to the prevention of the crime.”

Kristina Infante, lead attorneys for the victims’ family members, appeared satisfied with the outcome.

“It has been an honor to represent the Parkland families who, through their immeasurable grief, have devoted themselves to making the world a safer place,” Infante said in a statement.

“Although no resolution could ever restore what the Parkland families lost, this settlement marks an important step towards justice,” Infante added.

N.P.R. notes that, while the families and federal government have agreed to a settlement, they are still working to configure additional details.

Earlier this year, in October, victims’ families and survivors of the Parkland shooting reached a $25 million settlement with the Broward County School Board.

This settlement, says CNN, will allow the school board to maintain no wrongdoing.


Families of Parkland shooting victims settle lawsuit with DOJ for about $130 million

Families of Parkland shooting victims settle lawsuit with Justice Department

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