Just last week the parents of a student injured during the Oxford High School shooting filed a lawsuit claiming school officials didn’t do enough to prevent the tragedy.
It’s a lawsuit raising questions from families and civil case attorneys: do parents even have a case with schools having so much protection?
It’s very rare to see a lawsuit be brought against a school even–in an unfortunate incident like the Oxford shooting, that’s because schools qualified immunity.
“In this case qualified governmental immunity isn’t just a defense against liability but it’s a defense against some of the burden of litigation,” Grand Blanc attorney Michael Riziki said.
Riziki says it’s a tricky suit to examine due to school officials being included as a type of public official.
“The public officials need to have shown deliberate indifference and the liability is created by gross negligence,” Riziki said. “If you can’t prove those things you can’t get around it.”
Not many school shooting lawsuits have been successful including suits filed against Sandy Hook following the 2012 massacre.
Riziki says the judge on the case, Terrence Berg, must first decided if the case can move forward
“They will have to look at the facts as the facts are known right now,” he explained. “There will be a motion in court for a preliminary determination whether or not there is this qualified immunity. And all the facts that are known to this day will then be brought out and that’s how it starts.”
A motion was made earlier from the school district, asking the judge to dismiss the case following the plaintiff’s lawyer Geoffrey Fieger mistakenly naming the former dean of students in claim.
No progress has been made since the suit was filed.