PAINESVILLE -- On the one-year anniversary of their child's death, the parents of three students fatally shot at Chardon High School filed suit today against the gunman, T.J. Lane, and his family.
In a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Lake County Common Pleas Court, Lane's parents, Thomas Lane, Jr. and Sarah Nolan, and his maternal grandparent, are accused of negligently failing to supervise Lane.
At the time of the shooting, Lane was living with his grandparents, Jack and Carole Nolan.
The lawsuit alleged that they, along with an uncle, John Bruening, who owned the .22-caliber handgun that T.J. Lane used in the shooting, "facilitated, contributed to, and otherwise failed to prevent the fatal shooting."
They "knew or should have known that their negligent actions and omissions would result in severe physical and emotional injuries" to Daniel Parmertor, Russell King, Jr. and Demetrius Hewlin, the lawsuit noted.
Carole Nolan disputed any characterization that she failed to properly supervise Lane.
"I did everything I could," Carole Nolan said. "I picked him up from school every day. I was with him all the time."
Nancy Bruening also disputed that her husband owned the firearm used in the shooting.
"T.J. did not get any gun from us and we had nothing to do with it," she said. "That came from the Lane grandparents. We didn't have T.J. over to our house for several years."
Lane's parents could not be reached for comment. But last December they both testified in a pretrial hearing that they couldn't believe their son would have done such a thing.
"Not for a minute did I believe it was T.J.," Sarah Nolan, his mother, testified in Geauga County Common Pleas Court, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Honestly, I thought he was being wrongly accused."
T.J. Lane pleaded guilty Tuesday to the three murders, as well as two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault as part of a plea deal that may result in him being locked up for the rest of his life.
The families of the victims each filed claims against T.J. Lane's relatives for wrongful death, negligent supervision and statutory provisions that make parents liable for willful and malicious assaults by their children.
The families are seeking sums in excess of $25,000, which is the minimum required to file a lawsuit in common pleas court.