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'They knew he was a homicidal threat': $100MIL lawsuits filed on behalf of Oxford shooting survivors

The 2 suits were filed Thursday on behalf of the Franz family, whose daughters survived the deadly shooting at Oxford High School
Fieger Crumbley Oxford Lawsuit
Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 17:50:13-05

Two $100,000,000 lawsuits were filed Thursday on behalf of the Franz family, whose daughters survived the deadly shooting at Oxford High School.

The lawsuits, filed by Southfield-based attorney Geoffrey Fieger, come in the wake of the shooting at Oxford High School last week.

On Nov. 30, officials say 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley opened fire in the south end of the school shortly before 1 p.m., killing four people and injuring seven. Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17, lost their lives in the shooting.

Crumbley was arrested following the shooting, and charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were later each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Investigators say the suspect's father purchased the gun that was used in the deadly school shooting.

Ottawa County Prosecutor Karen McDonald has said the parents committed “egregious” acts, from buying the gun for their son, and failing to intervene when they were summoned to the school and confronted with a drawing he allegedly made that a teacher had found disturbing.

“The administrators, the counselors, the teachers, at Oxford High School bear responsibility,” Fieger said in a press conference Thursday morning.

“We hope by this lawsuit to make the financial cost of allowing children to be slaughtered very high, so as to compel people to do something."

The lawsuit says that 17-year-old Riley Franz was shot in the neck, while her sister 14-year-old Bella Franz was left traumatized watching the attack unfold.

"We're going to hold people responsible for betraying the trust we put in them to protect our children. We're going to hold every one of them responsible," Fieger said.

The lawsuit alleges that school administrators, teachers, and counselors failed to properly address a litany of warning signs that Ethan Crumbley displayed prior to bringing a gun to school.

A teacher allegedly saw Ethan drawing on a piece of paper in the days before the shooting, and brought it to administrators attention because of it's content.

One of those drawings is described in the lawsuit as a "drawing of a semi-automatic handgun next to the words the thoughts won't stop help me."

An alleged email exchange between an unnamed parent and Oxford High School Principal Steven Wolf is also included in Thursday's filing.

"I know it's been investigated but my kid doesn't feel safe at school... he didn't even want to go back to school today," the parent's email reads.

Principal Wolf allegedly responded, "I know I'm being redundant here, but there is absolutely no threat at the HS... Large assumptions were made from a few social media posts, then the assumptions evolved into exaggerated rumors."

There were 2 seperate lawsuits filed Thursday, both on behalf of the Franz Family.

Former assistant superintendent, and now associate law professor at WMU-Cooley, Renalia Dubose explained to FOX 17 Thursday that the lawsuit will come down to whether or not the district acted reasonably as concerns arose about Crumbley and his actions in the days and weeks before the shooting.

“Did school administration, with the notifications they had that this student was obsessed with guns, did they behave in a reasonable manner? That's the question, because, again, they have the ability under U.S. Supreme Court rulings to search based on reasonable suspicion, not probable cause,” Dubose said.

“That is the authority of the school district, that has a duty of care... a duty of care to make sure that there's a safe environment.”

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