Daytona Beach Personal Injury Lawyers
Free Consultations 386.258.1622

Florida Fourth DCA rules that school resource officer on duty at time of mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is not entitled to summary judgment on the grounds of qualified statutory immunity in parents’ wrongful death/negligence case

On December 18, 2019, in Peterson v. Pollack, No. 4D19-431, the Florida Fourth DCA affirmed a trial court ruling denying the summary judgment motion of the defendant school resource officer in a wrongful death/negligence brought by the parents of a student killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The school resource officer, a deputy sheriff, claimed that he was entitled to immunity from the lawsuit under Section 768.28(9)(a), Florida Statutes (2018), which immunizes any officer, employee, or agent of the state or any of its subdivisions from personal liability in tort for any injury or damage suffered as a result of any act, event, or omission of action in the scope of her or his employment or function, unless such officer, employee, or agent acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property. Both the trial court and the Fourth DCA concluded that the parents’ allegations regarding the deputy’s conduct, taken as true, would be sufficient for a reasonable trier of fact to conclude that the deputy acted “in bad faith,” “with malicious purpose,” or “in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights [or] safety,” as those quoted phrases are defined under Florida law.

Categories: