The tragedy that took place at the Parkland school is terrible for those that have to adjust to life without their loved ones. There were so many answers that were not provided that families are still wondering what could have been done differently. The whole situation has prompted some people to take the district to court for damages. And now it looks like the Florida Supreme Court has had to get involved to limit what people are demanding in return.
The Florida Supreme Court made a ruling that effectively caps off the amount what the school board is supposed to pay victims of the shooting in Parkland. The ethical dilemma centers on what the value of life should be. But there is also the issue of human greed that forces people to milk the district for all they are worth.
The court came to an agreement with the Broward County School Board that the incident at the school should be treated as a single issue. The high court stated that the cap that can be paid out is not to exceed $300,000. Seventeen students and others lost their lives when the shooter came in and started firing at helpless people.
The greedy attorneys of the families are claiming that each family should get $200,000 for their loss. But the high court has the final say, and $300,000 is the cap for all the claims together. The cap keeps governmental agencies from having to pay vast amounts of money. These lawsuits have the potential of bankrupting the school district.
People are always looking for money when something happens to them. In this case, the loss of life was the down payment. But it is impossible to place a dollar amount on a person’s life. Nor is it justified to make an innocent entity, such as the school district, to pay immunity because of a rogue killer’s actions. The school district did not cause the shootings to happen.
The killer acted on his own free will. The high school students and teachers did what they could do to evacuate as many people as possible to safety. Had the school district been responsible for the shootings, it would be a totally different matter.
The court ruling stated that “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 school district has dodged a bullet on this issue as they will not have to pay more than $300,000.
But the court did state that “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.”
Each party could file additional suits individually later to get more compensation for their losses. But what good will that do for the victims? The kids are not coming back, and that is the horrible part of this ruling. It is sad that some people have to use the tragedy to make a few bucks.
The court’s actions define what was written a decade ago in a Palm Beach County shooting case. The ruling stated that “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.”
The court needed to clarify what is meant by “sovereign immunity.” Without clarity, any future tragic cases would mean terrible lawsuits for governmental agencies in the state of Florida. Lawyers that push court cases for the sake of money are to blame for the furtherance of hurt and pain in families struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one.