Monday, May 07, 2018

Lawsuit from Parkland shooting against security guard raises troubling implications



The parents of Meadow Pollack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, FL have filed suit specifically against the security guard who apparently did not attempt to go into the building and approach the shooter.  The papers call the guard “pusillanimous” (a good vocabulary word). The Washington Post account is here.  It is true that we don't normally use the word "coward" today the way we used to a half-century ago. 

  
The Post has an embedded PDF of the lawsuit papers here

The lawsuit also names three mental health services, as well as the Snead couple, who hosted Cruz, for failing to secure his weapons.

The suit is disturbing.  First, if someone is being hosted by a family (let’s say, an immigrant), the family takes on more legal liability risk that it might not understand.

The duty to defend part would sound obvious since he was employed as a guard.  I do wonder what he was paid and how he was trained.  Are we counting on a low-paid employee to lay down his life?  It reminds me of how we used to think about the (male-only) military draft.

I would wonder about a scenario where someone is accosted or a robbery is attempted in a public place, especially somewhat confined like a bus or subway car. The victim resists. The attacked, perhaps because of a political rather than economic motivation, kills someone else on the conveyance to make a statement about the first person’s resistance.  Could the first victim be held liable?  I hope the courts will think about questions like this.  




Here is a related writeup from 2014. 
   
This is a different kind of downstream liability exposure than what we usually discuss with Internet providers or even gun manufacturers. 

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