Roger Trindade case: OCPS seeks dismissal from lawsuit

Family of Winter Park teen claims school board created 'zone of risk'

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

WINTER PARK, Fla. - The Orange County School Board is asking to be dismissed from a wrongful death lawsuit involving a teenager who was beaten and killed in downtown Winter Park.

During a hearing on Tuesday, a judge will address the motion, which claims the school board should not be held liable for the death of Roger Trindade.

Winter Park police said Trindade was found unconscious in Central Park on Oct. 15, 2016. He later died.

In June 2018, a jury convicted Jesse Sutherland, 16, and Simeon Hall, 16, of manslaughter and battery. The teens were sentenced to less than a year of juvenile detention.

In October, the Trindade family filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Winter Park, Orange County School Board and the families of five teenagers.

According to court documents, the Trindade family claims the city of Winter Park failed to provide adequate security in the Central Park area.

The lawsuit also claims Orange County Public Schools failed to enforce its own student code of conduct and created a zone of danger that encompassed Central Park by allowing gangs involving many of the defendants to exist.

In the school board's motion to dismiss, attorneys argued the district shouldn't be held responsible for something that wasn't on school property and happened on a weekend night.

"Absurdly, the count alleges that OCSB 'created a zone of risk which encompassed Central Park,'" the motion states.  "If plaintiff's unbounded theory of liability were accepted, school districts would become the insurer of all students in all places at all times. That is not the law."

Tuesday's hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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