Parkland and the Public Duty Rule: Liner Notes

I have a new column up at the Federalist, “Could The Police Legally Do No Wrong In The Parkland Shooting?”  It’s about a legal rule called the public duty doctrine, one of the obstacles to suing someone like the police officer (or department) who failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during last week’s horrific mass shooting.  In the piece, I allude to the way in which the doctrine has bedeviled even the courts largely responsible for its existence, including Florida courts.

Should you want a deeper dive on the subject — and the issues surrounding suing local government in general — I might recommend the Illinois Supreme Court’s opinions in Coleman v. East Joliet Fire Protection District, a 2016 case in which the court abandoned the public duty rule, though not without dissent.  Fun fact:  Justice Bob Thomas, the author of the dissent, was a kicker for the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers and New York Giants.  I mention it because it’s not mentioned in his official bio.

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