By Robert Snell | The Detroit News
Survivors of the mass shooting at Oxford High School filed an updated $100million lawsuit Friday night accusing the superintendent, principal and others of gross negligence, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and failing to have prevented the massacre.
The 107-page lawsuit added 11 new charges against school officials following new information that has emerged in the five weeks since investigators said the 15-year-old sophomore , Ethan Crumbley, shot dead four classmates at Oxford High School and injured seven others. , including a teacher.
He faces four counts of first-degree premeditated murder and 20 other felonies and was due to stand trial on Friday, hours before Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger is due to file the amended lawsuit.
Fieger filed the original lawsuit Dec. 9 on behalf of sisters Riley and Bella Franz, students at Oxford High who survived the shooting. Riley, a 17-year-old senior, was shot in the neck next to Bella, 14, a freshman, as they exited the bathroom during the attack, according to Fieger.
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The amended lawsuit accuses Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne of knowing about the threats against the students, failing to prevent the attack and putting the students in greater danger.
“The individually named defendants are each responsible, by their actions, for making victimized students less safe, for causing direct harm to students, and for acting in such a reckless manner as to demonstrate a lack of substantial concern as to whether injury results,” Fieger wrote.
The amended lawsuit filed Friday night continues to list the allegations against a man who school district attorney Timothy Mullins said has not worked in the district for more than a year. Mullins called the allegations false.
“(Fieger) has added a few counts of negligence to his complaint and now, like before, he doesn’t even know who he is suing,” Mullins said on Saturday.
Mullins has previously said Oxford school officials would claim they were shielded from liability.
“A criminal investigation and prosecution is ongoing and the Oakland County District Attorney has asked us not to comment on the facts of the case to avoid interference,” Mullins said. “Our priority is to get the children back to school. There will be plenty of time for comments.
The lawsuit accuses school officials of failing to stop an attack that inflicted physical and psychological injuries on students and spreads blame among top Oxford school officials as well as teachers and unidentified advisers.
The attack was the country’s deadliest school shooting since 2018. Oxford High School students Hana St. Juliana, 14, were killed in the attack; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17.
The lawsuit includes details that have emerged in multiple court documents and appearances since the shooting.
On the day of the shooting, one of Crumbley’s teachers saw graphic drawings with violent imagery and cries for help and reported what she saw to counselors, according to police and officials. school.
Crumbley allegedly told advisers once he was taken to the office that his drawing was part of a video game he was designing and that he planned to pursue a career in video game design, Throne said in a statement. communicated. Crumbley stayed in the office for about 90 minutes and worked on school assignments while the school tried to reach his parents.
After speaking to parents James and Jennifer Crumbley at the school office and again to Ethan Crumbley, school counselors concluded that he had no intention of self-harming or harming others, a said Throne.
His parents were told they had 48 hours to seek counseling for their child or the school would contact child protective services. They were asked to take their son home for the day, but they “adamantly” refused and left without their son, Throne said.
Police said they believe the handgun was concealed in Ethan Crumbley’s backpack.
Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said a teacher reported that Ethan Crumbley was also looking for ammunition on his phone at school a day before the shooting. School officials contacted Jennifer Crumbley but never heard back.
Fieger accused high school principal Steven Wolf of knowing about Crumbley’s threats of violence, according to the lawsuit.
“Despite the messages and knowledge of the threats of violence, Defendant Wolf sent emails to parents at Oxford High School asking them not to share the messages, report them or take the threats seriously,” Fieger wrote.
The principal made the situation worse, Fieger added.
“Defendant Wolf excited Ethan Crumbley by removing him from the class, warning him that child protective services might be called (without actually calling child protective services), thus encouraging Crumbley to speed up his murder schedule,” according to the lawsuit.
“Defendant Wolf gave Ethan Crumbley the opportunity to retrieve the gun from his backpack and shoot the students at Oxford High School,” Fieger wrote. “…Wolf’s conduct was so reckless that it demonstrated a substantial lack of concern as to whether injury occurred when he acted as stated above.”
The lawsuit accuses two anonymous school counselors of failing to report that they found violent pictures and notes drawn by Crumbley that threatened violence against other students.
The failure to act provided “license to Ethan Crumbley to commit his acts of violence, thereby allowing Ethan Crumbley the opportunity to complete his murderous rampage on an expedited timeline,” Fieger wrote.