DETROIT — Oxford Community School officials are destroying social media pages and other evidence that lawyers for siblings who survived last week’s mass shooting want preserved, according to a federal court filing Friday.
Lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith to order school officials to preserve the evidence and have social media companies restore deleted profiles and other information.
Attorney Nora Hanna cited several pieces of missing or destroyed information, including one defendant’s LinkedIn profile and a listing of high school administrators from the school website.
“Not only did defendants fail to take necessary steps to preserve the evidence, but they willfully destructed the evidence by deleting the webpages and social media accounts,” Hanna wrote. “Plaintiffs cannot continue to be blindsided by the defendants by having to search for what evidence is being destroyed or altered.”
The request by Hanna, a lawyer for sisters Riley Franz, 17, an Oxford High School senior, and Bella Franz, 14, a freshman, comes one day after lawyer Geoffrey Fieger filed a $100 million lawsuit on behalf of the siblings who survived the Nov. 30 attack that left four students dead and seven wounded.
Attorneys are asking several companies to hold onto any records they may have related to the shooting. Fieger’s legal team has sent preservation requests to a slew of companies, public agencies and social media firms. That includes Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, the FBI, Department of Justice and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to accounts, attorneys are also asking Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to save posts using the hashtags #OxfordStrong, #OxfordSchoolShooting and #OxfordShooting from Nov. 30, as well as any posts, photos or messages sent or shared from the school that day.
Some of the biggest requests are made of the school district, asking it to produce all files on the alleged shooter, video footage made of the suspect’s family, any correspondence addressing potential threats and all employment records of all counselors, teachers and staff of the school.
Included in the request are handbooks for and training materials given to several administrators, including Superintendent Tim Thorne and Principal Steve Wolf.
An Oxford school spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.
Other requests include asking Abbey Ridge, the apartment complex next to the school, to save any recordings it may have of the shooting or of students and families coming and going after, and asking AT&T to save and produce all files, including calls and texts, to or from the Crumbleys and several administrators.
The same request was made of a Meijer store and a Tim Horton’s near the school.
The students’ lawsuit marked the start of what is expected to be a flurry of lawsuits seeking to hold the district and school officials responsible for a massacre that prosecutors say was carried out by 15-year-old sophomore Ethan Crumbley.
The allegation Friday deepens the legal fallout from the country’s deadliest school shooting since 2018 and comes as legal experts expect more lawsuits will be filed by survivors and families of those killed during the attack.
That lawsuit announced Thursday accuses school officials of failing to stop an attack that inflicted physical and psychological injuries on students and spreads the blame among the highest-ranking Oxford school officials along with unidentified teachers and counselors.
Robert Snell and Hayley Harding, The Detroit News