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Parkland shooting gives rise to wrongful death suit

The Parkland school shooting that took place on Feb. 14 led to the deaths of 17 people. Residents of South Carolina should know that the father of one of the victims, who was a student, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several defendants. One of them happens to be a deputy sheriff who was assigned to the school.

The deputy was an armed resource officer and thus had a duty to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. According to the plaintiff, the deputy failed in this duty by not entering the building and killing the shooter upon hearing the gunshots. Instead, the deputy hid between two concrete walls and called dispatch several times to lock down the school.

Against the accusation that the deputy did nothing, the defense attorney has stated that he acted reasonably because he believed the gunshots were coming from outside. It appears like the suit, which is the second to be filed on behalf of a victim of the Parkland shooting, will only be resolved through a jury trial. The damages are as yet unspecified, but three mental health centers that evaluated the killer are also being implicated.

For a claim such as this to be successful, it must be shown that the school itself failed to provide adequate security for its students. This means proving that the deputy did not, for example, meet an objective standard for professional conduct. Determining what is adequate depends on the property's size, its purpose, and other factors.

This is why lawyers are essential when filing wrongful death lawsuits. Lawyers can evaluate claims, have investigators review the incident and gather proof of the other side's negligence, and begin the litigation process. Lawyers familiar with ADR could also help their clients settle out of court.

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