Florida Supreme Court turns down negligence case claimed by parents of Parkland shooting victims

click to enlarge Photo by Monivette CordeiroThe Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to take up cases in which parents of victims of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alleged negligence by a mental-health facility that provided services to accused shooter Nikolas Cruz. Justices issued two orders declining to take up appeals filed by Andrew Pollack and Shara Kaplan, parents of slain student Meadow Pollack, and Royer Borges and Emely Delfin, parents of seriously injured student Anthony Borges.The Supreme Court did not explain its reasons for the decisions The parents went to the Supreme Court after the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in May that Henderson Behavioral Health, Inc., cannot be held liable in the shooting.The parents alleged that the mental-health facility was negligent, at least in part, for failing to prevent Cruz from being mainstreamed into the public-school system and for failing to warn about dangers posed by Cruz, a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student at the time of the shooting.But in the Pollack case, the appeals court said the “theories of liability are undermined by Florida law establishing that a criminal attack on third parties by an outpatient mental health patient is not within the foreseeable zone of risk created by the mental health provider. Florida law does not recognize a duty of mental health providers to warn third parties that a patient may be dangerous.”Meadow Pollack was one of 17 students and faculty members who were killed Feb. 14, 2018, at the Parkland school, while Anthony Borges was one of 17 others who were wounded. Cruz is awaiting trial on murder charges.

Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer claims photos of gunshot wounds sent to her are threats

click to enlarge Adobe StockA California attorney urged a federal appeals court Monday to reject a lawsuit filed by prominent National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer over emails sent after the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.Lawrence Sorensen, an attorney and mediator, sent emails to Hammer that contained photos showing injuries from gunshot wounds. Hammer, the NRAs longtime Florida lobbyist, filed a lawsuit against Sorensen and three unrelated men, alleging that emails she received were harassing and threatening.U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in November dismissed the case against Sorensen on First Amendment grounds. Hammer appealed to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but a lawyer for Sorensen filed a 32-page brief Monday urging the court to uphold Hinkles dismissal of the case.In part, the brief contended that Hammer, a former national president of the NRA, is a public figure and that Sorensens emails are protected by free speech.The photographs are real, and, in this case, they were sent to induce a public figure (perhaps the most significant public figure on this issue) to change her position or at least consider the damage that can be done by the products she promotes, the brief said.One cannot escape the reality that there is an ongoing public debate pertaining to the wisdom of regulating such high powered weapons.