California residents may recall a 2017 murder case involving a man who shot and killed four people with a rifle after luring them to a Pennsylvania farm. The families of the four victims have filed lawsuits against the man’s parents that accuse them of not taking reasonable steps to protect the public from their son. The families are seeking unspecified damages for negligence and wrongful death.
Attorneys representing the man’s parents responded to one of the wrongful death lawsuits by filing a motion to dismiss. They argued that the parents should not be held responsible for the behavior of their adult son. He was 20 years old when he committed the crimes. On May 13, a Bucks County judge denied the motion. The man is currently serving four life sentences.
The victims’ families allege that the man’s parents should have known that their son was likely to commit a serious violent crime sooner or later. As a child, the man was hospitalized for mental health issues and had a history of violent behavior. He was also enthusiastic about firearms. Despite this history and a pattern of increasingly violent actions, his parents did not notify the authorities and did not restrict his access to the guns they kept on their farm. The victims were killed after being told that they could purchase marijuana at the farm.
When experienced personal injury attorneys pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a decedent’s survivors, they may seek compensatory damages for their client’s medical bills, funeral costs and other losses. If the facts of the case suggest that the defendant engaged in conduct that was especially reckless, attorneys could also ask the jury to award punitive damages in part to deter others from acting in the same way.