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Judge dismisses shooting lawsuit

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 11, 2003

NEW PORT RICHEY -- A circuit judge on Thursday ruled for the second time that the parents of slain Ridgewood High student Teddy Niziol do not have a civil case against the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

The Niziol family filed suit last year, alleging that school officials and a sheriff's deputy assigned to Ridgewood failed to act swiftly on a note that said a student identified only as Teddy had a gun on campus. Niziol was killed on Jan. 19, 2000, as he drove away from Ridgewood High in New Port Richey. He was accidentally shot by his best friend, Steven Moschella, who was holding a stolen handgun that Niziol, 16, had brought to school that day.

Circuit Judge Stanley Mills ruled Thursday that the sheriff's deputy assigned to Ridgewood did not have a legal duty to protect Niziol individually. Lawyers for Niziol's family said they had not decided whether to appeal. The judge previously ruled that the lawsuit would proceed against the school district.

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