Uvalde school district and law enforcement agencies might face multi-billion dollar class-action lawsuit

Source: Hot Air

A California-based law firm served the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District with the multibillion-dollar claim Monday. Uvalde city leaders were served Tuesday evening during a City Council meeting. The law firm of Bonner & Bonner is seeking $27 billion on behalf of the Uvalde shooting victims and their families. Damages will also be sought from Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the AR-15 used by the shooter.

As a precursor to a class-action lawsuit, Charles Bonner served the school district and city leaders to put them on notice as would-be defendants. Bonner hopes to settle before a class-action lawsuit is filed but is prepared to move ahead if the parties involved don’t come to the negotiating table. He will file a federal lawsuit in September if it is necessary.

The purpose of the claim is to establish a medical monitoring fund that will pay for counseling for those affected by the mass shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24. Twenty-one people were murdered that day – 19 children and 2 teachers. The fund will also compensate victims and their families and other people in the school that day. Going a step further, Bonner will seek damages from Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the AR-15. For now, the prospective lawsuit covers nine families of shooting victims, but Bonner said more people impacted by the mass shooting will likely sign on as the process moves forward.

Bonner justifies the claims for compensation and damages by pointing to the Texas House committee’s report that was published last month. The committee’s report found “systemic failures and egregious poor decision making” contributed to the shooter’s ability to get inside the school and a classroom. Law enforcement’s slow response in confronting the killer was also included in the report. It was horrifying to watch video produced from inside the school that showed various law enforcement officers standing outside the classroom where the killer was murdering children and the teachers for 77 minutes instead of moving into the classroom to end the siege. There were procedures in place to respond to a mass shooting but they were not followed.

“The theme of this invitation to negotiate is accountability, responsibility and justice, and that’s what we want for everyone in that class. We will leave no victim behind,” Bonner said.

Anne Marie Espinoza, a spokesperson for the school district, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Uvalde school board will meet today and consideration on whether or not to fire Pete Arredondo, the school district’s police chief. He was the commanding officer listed in the district’s active-shooter plan, yet he told investigators that he didn’t know who was supposed to be in charge that day. Uvalde residents are frustrated and angry that no one is being held accountable so far. School board members agreed during an August 15 meeting to hire outside attorneys ahead of the hearing today.

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District recommended that Arredondo be fired. The Uvalde school board canceled its July 23 special session to consider the district’s recommendation “in conformity with due process requirements, and at the request of his attorney.”

Parents and community members have called on officials to fire Arredondo immediately, with some calling for the firing of other members of Uvalde’s school district police force who were present during the shooting.

According to an investigative report by the Texas House of Representatives into the events of May 24, the school district’s written active shooter plan assigned Arredondo “to assume command and control” during an active shooter incident.

“But as events unfolded, he failed to perform or to transfer to another person the role of incident commander,” the report from the state House read. “This was an essential duty he had assigned to himself in the plan mentioned above, yet it was not effectively performed by anyone.”

The report goes on to describe the general consensus from witnesses that officers on the scene either “assumed that Chief Arredondo was in charge, or that they could not tell that anybody was in charge of a scene described by several witnesses as ‘chaos’ or a ‘cluster.’”

Everything went horribly wrong that day and the response that was supposed to be led by Arredondo was the worst of failures. Let’s hope that grieving families and residents of Uvalde will get some relief after today’s school board meeting. At the very least, Arredondo must go.