Miami Herald by Dara Kam
August 31, 2020
A statewide panel created in response to the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland signed off Monday on a settlement in an open-government lawsuit.
March for Our Lives Florida, the state branch of a national organization formed by students after the school shooting, Florida Student Power Network, Dream Defenders and individual plaintiffs filed a lawsuit accusing the panel of violating state open-government laws by holding an October meeting at a “remote resort” with parking rates of $18 to $32 and deterring members of the public from speaking.
Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper in June refused to approve the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission’s request to dismiss the lawsuit and asked attorneys representing both sides to try to resolve the issue.
During a commission meeting Monday, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the chairman of the panel, said the settlement avoided further litigation.
“I don’t believe there was any merit to the claims, but nonetheless they would have survived,” said Gualtieri, who is also a lawyer.