Two lawsuits seeking $100 million each have been filed against a Michigan school district, its superintendent and others after four students were fatally shot and others wounded at Oxford High School, a lawyer announced 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 senior who was shot in the neck Nov. 30, and her sister Bella, a 14-year-old ninth grader who was next to her at the time, attorney Geoffrey Fieger said.
Named in the suits are the Oxford Community School District, Superintendent Timothy Throne, Oxford High School principal Steven Wolf, the dean of students, two counselors, two teachers and a staff member.
The Associated Press sent an email Thursday seeking comment from the district.
Ten students and a teacher were shot at the school in Oxford Township, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.
Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, was arrested at the school and has been charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, later were charged with involuntary manslaughter and arrested.
Personal-injury lawyers have expressed doubt that the school district could be successfully sued for letting Crumbley stay in school. That’s because Michigan law sets a high bar to wring liability out of public schools and other arms of government.
“You have to show that the administration or faculty members were grossly negligent, meaning they had a reckless disregard for whether an injury was likely to take place,” said attorney A. Vince Colella.
The gun used in the shooting was bought days before by James Crumbley and their son had full access to the gun used in the killings, prosecutors said.
The morning before the shooting school officials met with Ethan Crumbley and his parents after the school after a teacher found a drawing of a gun, a bullet and a person who appeared to have been shot, along with messages stating “My life is useless” and “The world is dead.”
The Crumbleys “flatly refused” to take their son home, Throne has said.