Nov 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Parkland shooting victims' families settle lawsuit with DOJ

Flowers, candles and mementos sit outside one of the makeshift memorials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 27, 2018.

A makeshift memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. Photo: Rhona WiseI/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday reached a tentative lawsuit settlement with families of victims of a February 2018 mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, court filings show.

Why it matters: In the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 people dead, it emerged that there were several instances of authorities failing to step in both before and during the attack, notably the FBI.

  • The FBI acknowledged after the massacre that it did not follow protocol after receiving a tip in January 2018 that the former student who went on to carry out the killings was "going to explode."

The big picture: Fred Guttenberg and Jennifer Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed in the mass shooting, filed a negligence lawsuit against the Bureau in November 2018 and 39 other families later joined the suit, per the New York Times.

  • The settlement amount was not disclosed in the filing. But multiple outlets, including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and CNN, reported that it amounts to about $127.5 million, to be distributed among the families of the victims.

What they're saying: "Although no resolution could ever restore what the Parkland families lost, this settlement marks an important step toward justice," said Kristina Infante, the lead attorney for the families, in a statement to news outlets.

What to watch: Per the joint court filing, obtained by CNN, the parties state that they're working to finalize additional details of the settlement before submitting it for final approval.

  • Former student Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty last month to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting. A 12-person jury will determine Cruz's sentencing.

Go deeper: Parkland shooting victims' families settle suit with school district

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