North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

M-PHS shooting lawsuit settled for $18 million


August 9, 2017 | View PDF

An $18 million settlement was reached on July 28 between the families of the children who were killed or injured in the 2014 Marysville-Pilchuck High School shootings and the insurance company that represents the Marysville School District.

The school district’s insurance policy has a limit of $20 million, so the settlement will be under that limit.

The attorney representing the families, Lincoln Beauregard, wrote that “the Plaintiffs elected not to pursue amounts that would erode the School District’s general budget that is designated for educating and protecting children,” in a settlement letter.

The general fund for the district could be affected by any future lawsuits now though.

The 2016 lawsuit was filed on behalf of the parents of four children who were killed during the shooting and the one child who was injured and survived.

“Our staff responded to this horrible event with the utmost poise and compassion, even while being personally affected as well. We continue to grieve for the families involved in this terrible tragedy, and we hope this resolution gives them some peace,” said Marysville School District superintendent Becky Berg in a statement.

The school district had been dropped from the lawsuit, however a substitute teacher, Rosemary Cooper, remained a defendant.

The teacher was covered by the district’s insurance as a school employee as long as her actions were deemed reasonable.

Much of the suit centered around if Cooper did enough after learning about potential violence from a M-PHS student before the shooting had occurred.

“We remain saddened by the tragic shooting that occurred on the Marysville-Pilchuck High School campus on October 24, 2014,” said Berg.

“We maintain that District staff acted responsibly in the face of this tragedy, as found in Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team (S.M.A.R.T) investigation,” she said.

The decision to settle was made by the insurance company and not the Marysville School District.

“The Marysville School District was dismissed from the lawsuit and the settlement decision was made by the insurance company alone as part of their claims process,” said Berg.

In his settlement letter Beauregard thanked the district for their handling of the suit.

“The Marysville School District, Rosemary Cooper, and the assigned insurance representatives and attorneys handled this matter with great dignity and respect for the aggrieved families,” he wrote.

Berg said that the school district will maintain a safe environment for its students.

“We will not waiver in our commitment to our staff members, and we honor their ongoing dedication to our students, parents and the community. As a district, we will continue our commitment to the safety, welfare and education of our students, and will maintain the support systems needed for any and all who are still affected by this senseless tragedy,” she said.


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