Settlement Reached With Families After Four Teens Shot On Farm
Four teens were murdered on a farm after being lured there by a man posing as a marijuana dealer. The ensuing criminal case resulted in 4 life sentences and the families of the victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the farm and the man’s parents. Attorneys for the victims claim that the parents said a playpen for their disturbed son to turn into hunting grounds.
According to the lawsuit, the son hunted the teens with weapons his parents gave him access to. The plaintiffs maintain that the son should have never had access to weapons.
As of now, a settlement has been reached in the case, but the terms of that settlement were not disclosed.
Analyzing the allegations
There is a broad push to hold parents accountable when their children do something inhumane. In some cases, it’s difficult for prosecutors to find a theory of law that allows them to file charges against parents with malevolent children. In many cases, the parents are responsible especially if they have foreknowledge of their children’s malevolent conduct. In this case, you had a perpetrator who enjoys killing. The parents would have likely had some foreknowledge of this, but we will never know because the terms of the settlement are confidential.
The plaintiffs, in filing a lawsuit against the farm and the parents, alleged that the parents should have known or did know about their son’s propensity for violence. Instead of keeping their weapons under lock and key, as is required in most cases by law, they allowed a violent predator to access the weapons and four people died as a result.
Wrongful death and intentional malice
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed under several theories of liability including intentional malice committed by an individual who causes injury or death. However, the lawsuit was filed against the farm and the parents who owned the farm on the basis of negligently allowing a dangerous person access to weapons.
A basic requirement of many types of personal injury lawsuits is foreknowledge. In this case, the plaintiffs were able to successfully leverage a settlement on the basis that the parents should have known what their son was up to and gave him access to weapons. The son was arrested before for carrying a shotgun around the neighborhood and had been barred from high school and college campuses for bizarre and threatening behavior.
In this case, the plaintiffs did have a viable theory of negligence to file suit against the parents and the farm. The parents failed to intervene when it became apparent that there was something wrong with their son.
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