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Stetson Law Professor: Campus Shooting Claims Hard To Prove In Court

Ronny Ahmed

School shootings have opened up a new legal frontier: negligence lawsuits. Florida State University may soon face one over the 2014 shooting which left one man a parapalegic. But such lawsuits are tricky, and the spate of shootings has families reconsidering whether campuses are safe for their kids.

Ronny Ahmed will need specialized medical care for the rest of his life. His attorney claims FSU failed to provide adequate security, which may have prevented the shooting that left him paralyzed. Stetson University Law Professor Peter Lake says such cases are difficult because it’s hard to prove intent.

“These kind of emergencies require split second decision making and have to be judged by that point of view.”

He points to the lawsuits following the Virginia Tech shootings. The Virginia State Supreme Court overturned judgments for victims and their families. Lake says often families turn to courts to help with expensive medical expenses. Yet he says in some expensive graduate programs, students are beginning to consider life insurance policies in case they’re severely injured or die while in school.

“These kind of things were unthinkable in another generation. It’s unnatural for people in this age group to pass," he says.

Ahmed’s attorney’s are seeking a $5 million settlement with FSU.