Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victim’s Fund
The attorneys and staff of Jones Brown PLLC continue their advocacy for all victims of crimes by offering free legal assistance to victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting that took place on February 14th, 2018 in Parkland Florida. Jones Brown PLLC would like to assist you, without charge if you are interested in receiving victim’s compensation offered by the National Center for Victims of Crime and the National Compassion Fund together with other entities.
This fund will offer compensation to the families of victims who were killed, the victims who were physically injured and the victims who experienced psychological trauma while physically present on campus during the attack.
Ther are deadlines associated with applying for these funds and more information is available here.
Our continued thoughts and prayers are withall the victims of violent crime and their family and friends as they each continue to recover from devastating effects of events of this nature. -Jones Brown Team
The February 14th attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was an atrocity that has devastated our community and shaken our entire nation. This unspeakable act of evil has been countered with a tremendous demonstration of compassion, resilience, support, and generosity from people across our country and from far corners of the world. These acts of kindness and concern, both large and small, are shining lights of hope which stand in stark contrast to the darkness which befell us.
This is a fund for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. For more than six terrible, agonizing minutes, a gunman took control and terrorized a school. To recover from victimization often means to reassert one’s control and act on that deep-seated need to do something. People from all walks of life chose to honor the memory of those who were killed, and the indomitable spirit of those who survived, by contributing money for the benefit of the victims. We, the Steering Committee for this Fund, have a solemn obligation to honor the intent of donors to help the victims by administering these funds in a way that is fair, transparent, victim-centered, and trauma-informed.
No one has a legal claim or entitlement to these funds. They are a GIFT, an act of charity from the tremendous generosity of individuals and organizations. The Steering Committee’s role is to fairly administer these funds for the direct benefit of the victims, within the context of other available services. We are inspired by the largesse of the public to help as many people as we can, as much as we can, though we are also poignantly aware of our constraints and limitations.
We cannot solve all of the problems arising from this event. All the money in the world cannot bring back those who were killed, nor erase that which was witnessed and endured by the survivors. We concede that this model is not well-suited to address long-term needs or latent injuries which do not manifest themselves until long after our application period has passed. But this Fund does not exist in a vacuum; it is merely one part of an ongoing continuum of care in response to this atrocity. Immediate assistance was available through Florida’s crime victim compensation program and a myriad of crowd-sourced funding sites. Long-term governmental and community assistance will likely be provided, though it may take up to 18-24 months for that assistance to become available. This Fund offers assistance in the medium term, to bridge the gap.
The gifts offered by this Fund are also qualitatively different from other sources of relief. These gifts are not based on any economic loss or expenses incurred. Those particular losses may be reimbursed by the Florida Crime Victim Compensation Bureau, and we seek to avoid any overlap with those existing benefits.
These gifts are given to victims without any restriction on their use. We believe that victims and survivors are in the best position to determine which use would be most beneficial to their healing. We also believe that empowering victims to decide for themselves is yet another way to help them regain the control that was taken from them on February 14th.
We do not know how much money will be raised, but we firmly pledge that 100% of what is donated for victims will be distributed to victims and their families.
The success or failure of this Fund will not be measured in the amount of money raised, but rather by whether the funds were distributed fairly and transparently, and in accord with the intent of the donors. Individuals will receive monetary benefits. But what may be even more beneficial than any relief the money can provide—regardless of whether it was the product of a large corporate donation, or the proceeds of carwashes, bake sales, and lemonade stands—will be the comfort in knowing that thousands of people donated because they care about the MSD community and want to help.
Senator George S. LeMieux
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victim’s Fund
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victims’ Fund (the “Fund”) was established through the generosity of businesses, foundations, and individual donors. The Fund will be used to assist those families of the victims who were killed, the victims who were physically injured, and the victims who experienced psychological trauma while physically present on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018 during the attack (the “MSD Attack”).
- The payments from the Fund are to be apportioned to the victims in accordance with the severity of the injuries arising from the MSD Attack. Determination of the amounts for each eligible claimant will depend upon the following: (1) the balance in the Fund on June 30, 2018; (2) the receipt of updated data regarding the nature and the number of physical injuries and the number of individuals physically present on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; (3) completion of the review of all submitted claims; and (4) review and approval by the Administrators.
CATEGORIES OF ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS
- Individual Death Claims
Eligible claimants for deceased victims killed as a result of the MSD Attack will receive the highest category of payment under the scope of this Protocol. A final payment determination will be made upon receipt of all pertinent data and is subject to all comments above.
- Individual Physical Injury Claims for Victims Requiring Overnight Hospitalization
Eligible claimants who were physically injured and hospitalized for one or more nights between February 14, 2018, and May 31, 2018 (the last day to submit a claim to the Fund), due to physical injuries resulting from the MSD Attack will receive payment under this Final Protocol.
- Individual Physical Injury Claims of Victims Treated at Broward Area Hospitals on an Emergency Out-Patient Basis
Eligible Claimants who were physically injured as a result of the MSD Attack who were treated on an emergency out-patient basis (within 48 hours of the shootings) at one of the Parkland-area hospitals, and released without an overnight hospital stay, will receive a payment under this Final Protocol.
- Individual Claims of Victims Experiencing Psychological Trauma and/or emotional distress on the Campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
There are two factors, either of which can make an applicant eligible for benefits. The first factor is the physical presence of an individual in the 1200 building at the time of the shooting. Any person present in the building at that time is presumed to have experienced emotional distress, and without any other qualification, is eligible to receive payment under this protocol.In addition, any individuals who were physically present on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the time of the Attack, but did not suffer physical injury requiring medical treatment, but who sought treatment for psychological trauma arising from the Attack, no later than May 1, 2018, will receive a payment under this Final Protocol. Proof of such physical presence will be based upon contemporary attendance records.
PROCESS AND PROCEDURES
Eligible claimants must file an application for benefits in order to receive a payment from the Fund. The application will provide the opportunity to specify whether they are seeking benefits for Deceased Victims, an application for benefits for Physical Injury, and/or an application for benefits for Psychological Trauma while on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A single application for benefits should be submitted for each eligible claimant.
The process and procedures for consideration of eligible claims will be as follows:
- The Fund will be administered by the National Center for Victims of Crime/National Compassion Fund and The Broward Education Foundation. A link to submit an online application for benefits (“Application”) and the Final Protocol, will be made available to all known claimants who have provided the necessary information to the Broward Education Foundation or the National Compassion Fund (“NCF”) by US mail and/or email. The Final Protocol and information concerning the Claim process will also be available on the nationalcompassionfund.org website beginning on May 1, 2018. Representatives from the National Compassion Fund and Angeion Group (collectively, the “Fund Administrators”) will administer and process the claims. Only one Application should be submitted by, or on behalf of, each victim. The Application must be completed and submitted to the Fund Administrators (along with all required supporting documentation detailed on the Application) no later than May 31, 2018. Questions regarding the completion of an Application can be sent via email to MSDFund@ncvc.org or made by telephone to 855-4VICTIM (855-484-2846).
- Access to the Online Claims System can be found at www.NationalCompassionFund.org. Claimants who lack access to the Internet are invited to call the toll-free claimant assistance number at 855-4VICTIM (855-484-2846) for guidance on alternative filing assistance.
- In the event that an applicant submits an incomplete or deficient Application (e.g., the applicant failed to include required documentation or failed to fully complete the Application), a representative from the Fund Administrators’ office may work with the claimant in an effort to cure any such deficiencies.
- Payments will be issued shortly after the deadline for submission of all contributions and the final review and determination of all eligible Applications by the Fund Administrators. The Fund Administrators will submit final payment determinations to the Steering Committee for recommendation and submission to the Broward Education Foundation for approval of transmission of the payments, by check or electronic bank wire, to each eligible applicant. In the event sufficient contributions are received after the final payment determinations, a supplemental distribution may be made to eligible applicants.
- An Application filed for a deceased victim will require the spouse or legal partner’s signature if the deceased individual was married at the time of death, and shall also include information pertaining to individuals (e.g., spouse, children, parents, siblings) who may be eligible to receive compensation under the local probate law of the deceased victim’s domicile. In cases where the victim was not married, the personal representative legally authorized to administer the Estate must submit the Application. If the deceased did not leave a Will, the personal representative must prepare a proposed plan of distribution of the funds among the decedent’s legal heirs and beneficiaries. The proposed plan will be distributed to all such legal heirs and beneficiaries, each of whom must consent to the proposed distribution. If an agreement among the heirs and beneficiaries cannot be reached as to who will serve as the personal representative, or with regard to the proposed distribution, the applicants will be required to obtain legal authorization from the Probate Court having jurisdiction to determine who is the legally-responsible person eligible to file the Claim. Under those circumstances, the Fund Administrators will recommend that the Broward Education Foundation deposit the affected funds with the Probate Court having jurisdiction, to be held in a separate account, and to be distributed only upon resolution in accordance with a valid court order.
- For claims for a minor child, the Claim Form will require the consent of both parents (if both parents are living). For claims for incompetent adults, the Claim Form will require proof of representative capacity, such as a power-of-attorney, guardianship, appointment of guardian or attorney ad litem.
- An Application filed for a physical injury applicant must include an authorization to release medical information which confirms: (i) date of admission to the hospital, (ii) date of actual or expected discharge from the hospital, and (iii) the nature of the injury and that the injury was sustained as a result of the MSD attack.
- An Application filed for Psychological Trauma applicant must have their presence on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School corroborated by confirmation from contemporary attendance records, and those seeking benefits based upon mental health treatment must include an authorization to release medical information which confirms the applicant sought treatment by April 30th.
- The Fund cannot provide tax advice to those receiving payments from the Fund. The Fund Administrators recommend you consult your tax advisor for any questions regarding tax liability for these payments.
- A full audit of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victims’ Fund will be conducted by an independent auditing firm as soon as possible after August 15, 2018. The results of this audit will be made available to all applicants, donors, and the general public, along with a Final Report from the Fund Administrators.