While Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature were busy crafting a $500 million school safety plan for Florida, the family of an injured student was preparing what could be the first of several lawsuits in connection with the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
The family of 15-year-old Kyle Laman, wounded in the lower leg by confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz, has taken the first steps to sue a whole range of "negligent" agencies -- local, state and federal -- according to Gossip Extra's Jose Lambiet, who reported the story Tuesday.
Under fire by the Berman Law Group, the family's Boca Raton-based law firm, the agencies each were sent a notice of claim late Monday: the School Board of Broward County, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the state Department of Children and Families and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In an angry statement announcing the action, law firm managing partner Theodore Berman said, “It has long been time to stop putting profits over safety. No one should send their child to school only for them to come home in a body bag.”
The letter, sent on behalf of the boy's parents, Franz and Marie Laman, says the injured boy will file a claim for negligence. It is the first step on a six-month road to a full-fledged lawsuit.
Said Lambiet, "All alleged that each agency was negligent in either failing to protect the high school’s students, or not acting on tips and signs that shooter Nikolas Cruz may have been suffering (from) mental illness in the months before he killed 17 students and staffers and injured 16 people when he opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle at the school on Valentine’s Day."
The letter "serves as our client’s formal notice of a claim,” the lawyers' letter reads.
Agencies acknowledge receipt of such letters but they generally decline comment until a lawsuit is officially filed.
The Lamans have said they sold a home elsewhere in Florida and moved to Parkland specifically so Kyle could go to the Douglas High School. Kyle was one of the last injured students released from the hospital last week.
Says Lambiet, "He is settling back at home and still hopes his right ankle, which was shattered by a bullet, will heal properly after two major surgeries to reconstruct ligaments and two more scheduled in the coming weeks."
The story also credits Kyle Laman, who, though he lay injured, gave deputies the description of Cruz they needed to find him quickly after the shooting and arrest him near the school.
Because the Laman parents quit their jobs to take care of Kyle, their friends set up a gofundme account to help out.
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith