Michigan personal injury lawyer Geoffrey Fieger announced Thursday he was filing two $100 million lawsuits against Oxford School District and employees on behalf of survivors of the mass shooting at Oxford High School on November 30.
Fieger, best known for defending Jack Kervorkian in the first of his assisted suicide trials in 1994, filed federal lawsuits on behalf of Oxford High siblings Riley Franz, a 17-year-old senior, and Bella Franz, a 14-year-old freshman, The Detroit News reported. Riley was shot in the neck during the attack, and Bella was beside her.
The lawsuits accuse school officials — including Superintendent Timothy Throne, Principal Steven Wolf, Dean Ryan Moore, and several unidentified counselors, teachers, and other staff members — of failing to stop the attack.
Fieger’s lawsuits claims that officials ignored and downplayed multiple online threats reported by parents in the weeks prior to the shooting. Wolf, the suits say, even sent an email to parents on November 16 saying “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,” Wolf wrote.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office as said those posts were not connected with Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old student accused of opening fire on November 30, killing four fellow students and wounding six students and a teacher. He is facing 24 counts of murder, attempted murder, and terrorism.
According to information released so far by prosecutors and police, school officials have denied any behavioral issues with Crumbley prior to November 29, when a teacher spotted him researching ammunition in class. The teacher called and emailed his mother, Jennifer Crumbley, but she did not respond. Instead, she texted her son, saying, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” as CrimeOnline previously reported.
The next day, a teacher saw a note Crumbley was scribbling that included a gun and a bullet and the words “The thoughts won’t stop, help me” and “blood everywhere.” Crumbley’s parents were “summoned immediately” to the school but insisted that he be returned to class after the teen said the drawing and notes were for a video game he was designing. They did not tell school officials they’d bought him a semi-automatic handgun just days before on Black Friday.
Three hours later, Crumbley opened fire in the school’s hallways. The Crumbleys have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors have not ruled out charges against school officials.
Fieger, a sometime analyst for NBC and MSNBC, has represented several other high profile cases, including a wrongful death suit against “The Jenny Jones Show” for the family of Scott Amedure, the family of Columbine High School massacre victim Isaiah Shoels, and the family of a 7-year-old girl shot during a 2010 police raid that was being filmed for A&E reality show “The First 48.”
He also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Michigan governor in 1998. During that campaign he made several inflammatory comments, such as calling his opponent, John Engler, the product of interbreeding humans and barnyard animals.
Fieger’s more widely known brother, the late Doug Fieger, was the lead vocalist and guitarist for The Knack and co-wrote their hit song, “My Sharona.”
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast