School district faces two $ 100 million lawsuits after Michigan school shooting

Two lawsuits for $ 100 million each have been filed against a Michigan school district, its superintendent and others after four students were shot and injured at Oxford high school, a lawyer said Thursday.

The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Detroit by Jeffrey and Brandi Franz on behalf of their daughters, Riley, a 17-year-old who was shot in the neck on November 30, and her sister Bella, aged 14. year. ninth grade who was next to her at the time, said attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

These are the first known civil lawsuits filed in connection with the shooting. The Oxford Community School District Superintendent Tim Throne, Oxford High School Principal Steven Wolf, Dean of Students, two counselors, two teachers and a staff member are named in the lawsuits.

The Associated Press sent an email Thursday seeking comment from the district.

Ten students and a teacher were shot dead at the school in Oxford Township, about 30 miles north of Detroit.

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, was arrested at the school and charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were later charged with manslaughter and arrested.

Personal injury attorneys have expressed doubts the school district can be successfully prosecuted for letting Crumbley stay in school. This is because Michigan law sets the bar high to wrest liability from public schools and other branches of government.

“You have to show that the administration or the faculty members were grossly negligent, which means that they did not take into account that an injury was likely to occur,” said lawyer A. Vince Colella.

The weapon used in the shooting had been purchased days earlier by James Crumbley and their son had full access to it, prosecutors said.

The morning before shooting school officials met Ethan Crumbley and his parents after school after a teacher found a drawing of a gun, a bullet, and a person who appeared to have been shot, as well as messages stating “My life is useless” and “The world is dead. “

The Crumbleys “categorically refused” to bring their son home, Throne said.

The Franz family live in Leonard, just northwest of Oxford. One of the trials criticized school officials for failing to expel, discipline or search Crumbley prior to the shooting, which allowed Crumbley to return to his classroom “and carry out his murderous rampage.”

The lawsuit also said the school district “knew or should have known that the policies, procedures, oversight of the training and discipline” of the personnel named in the lawsuit “were inadequate for the duties each defendant was to perform. “.

A statement posted on the district’s website by Throne on Wednesday said that once all the facts have been obtained and disclosed during the prosecution, he will recommend to the Oxford Education Council that the district initiate a review of its whole system “as other communities have faced similar experiences.

“Our goal with all of this is to put together all the facts about what happened before, during and after this horrific incident,” he wrote. “We are committed to doing this in a way that allows our community to move forward and does not re-traumatize members of our community, who are in shock and suffering from this horrific event.”

Criminal cases against Ethan Crumbley and his parents are overseen by the Oakland County District Attorney’s Office, and the Michigan Attorney General on Tuesday said his office would review events that took place before the mass shooting, despite the district’s rejection. of his offer to be his third party investigator.

The district attorney told the attorney general’s office on Monday that he was fully cooperating with local law enforcement.


Associated Press reporter David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan contributed to this story.

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