Parkland families eager to bring Broward Sheriff’s Office to court over 2018 shooting

Family members of those killed and injured at the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting asked a Broward judge Tuesday to speed up their civil case against the Broward Sheriff’s Office, even if it means having separate trials for individual defendants named in their lawsuit.

The Parkland families have resolved cases against the FBI and the School Board of Broward County, and one plaintiff negotiated an independent settlement with shooter Nikolas Cruz, who is in prison serving 34 consecutive life sentences.

The cases that are not resolved include the Broward Sheriff’s Office, former Deputy and School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, and campus monitors Andrew Medina and David Taylor.

Broward Circuit Judge Carol Lisa Phillips refused earlier this year to dismiss the cases against the individual defendants, a decision that is under review by the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

Until the appellate court rules, the civil suit is in a holding pattern. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued Tuesday that the case against the Sheriff’s Office can proceed without the other defendants. A second trial would be held if the appeals court upholds Phillips’ decision.

Attorneys for the Sheriff’s Office argued against extending the legal proceedings for two trials instead of one.

Phillips did not rule Tuesday.

Cruz killed 17 people at the Parkland high school on Feb. 14, 2018, and injured 17 others. More than 50 litigants, including several traumatized but not physically injured, are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Rafael Olmeda can be reached at or 954-356-4457