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Posted at 3:57 PM ET, 11/22/2010

Va. Tech lawsuit to move forward

By Associated Press

A judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by the families of two students slain in the mass shootings at Virginia Tech against school officials can go forward.

After Monday’s hearing, a trial was tentatively set for September.

Attorneys for university president Charles Steger and former executive vice president James Hyatt argued they were protected by sovereign immunity because their positions are established and funded by the state.

Visiting Circuit Court Judge William Alexander said even though the men ran the university, that didn’t qualify them as high-ranking government officials protected from personal liability.

The families of Julia Pryde and Erin Peterson refused to participate in a settlement accepted by most families of victims of the April 16, 2007 shooting that left 33 dead.

By Associated Press  | November 22, 2010; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Virginia  
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Comments

I feel for the families, but the fact that the school try to make ammends for something that is hardly their fault should be enough. These two families want to profit off of tragedy and that is a darn shame. Some people just lack class.

Posted by: ClevenderInDC | November 22, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Having this lawsuit proceed will help keep memories of that terrible tragic day alive for many of us. But I certainly will not judge the two families for not having been satisfied with the explanations or of the settlement that was offered. Anyone who carefully reads the final report on the shootings and is prepared to read between a few lines can identify the one single event that day from which the decisions not to close the campus or warn the students sooner than they were warned -- the police insisted to school officials that they knew that the shooter was the boyfriend of the first female victim and that he had left campus. Based upon that tragically bad information, school officials acted that way most of us would have. Why was this fact not emphasized in the report? Well, why are police mistakes almost never properly addressed. Could the fact that the head of the commission was a retired State Police Chief have had something to do with it? That mistake was never hit head on. And if two families remain unsatisfied, who can blame them?

Posted by: tradeczar | November 22, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

It is the others who have settled for cash. These families want our system of courts to review and scrutinize all the evidence. What could be more American?

I've never been fully satisfied that the truth has been presented. The fact that school officials called their own children and warned them indicates they knew of continuing danger. I don't blame them for calling their kids first, I just wish they had pressed for a general warning sooner on that day.

Posted by: blasmaic | November 22, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the parents would say it's not about the money, but about ensuring this never happens again, that people who made mistakes aren't allowed to make them again, yada yada yada. None of us (except the other 30 families) can imagine their loss, but sadly I don't think they'll find the satisfaction or closure they probably think they will by playing Monday morning quarterback. There's a reason why it's the worst mass shooting in US history - because it's never happened before, so you just don't plan for it. The real legacy for these kids is that their tragedy has made millions of college kids all over the world more safe. At some point, at least to me, that has to be enough.

Posted by: vt_maverick | November 22, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Geez.... Let it rest. I really feel for these families and have cried and prayed for them but does everything have to be somebody's fault these days? S happens and the administration did the best it could that day. Did they make mistakes? Yes! Have they learned and adjusted? Yes! So has the rest of the world. Every campus in the US changed that day. Nobody in the world could have predicted what that nut job did and to try to lay blame is ridiculous. The sue everyone because it's not my fault and someone has to be to blamed mentality is destroying this country.

Posted by: OakCreekHokie | November 22, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

All of this extended blame is getting out of control. The shooter bought his weapon legally, the school had no idea that he had bought a weapon, and it's an open campus. The shooter is 100% responsible. I understand the need to hold someone accountable who isstill around to be so, but enough is enough.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 23, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Just like the inevitable terrorism incident that will occur in Washington D.C., this act was unpreventable. If it happeans a second time and the same series of administrative actions take place, then by all means, sue the negligent parties. Geez Louise, Tech hasn't planned for a stampede out of Byrd stadium yet either. What are they waiting for?

Posted by: DrFish | November 23, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Just like the inevitable terrorism incident that will occur in Washington D.C., this act was unpreventable. If it happeans a second time and the same series of administrative actions take place, then by all means, sue the negligent parties. Geez Louise, Tech hasn't planned for a stampede out of Byrd stadium yet either. What are they waiting for?

Posted by: DrFish | November 23, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

It's outrageous that these money-grubbing, publicity-seeking families are allowed to tie up court time (and our tax dollars) and cost these two administrators time and money defending themselves. Last time I checked, one insane kid was the killer, not the university's president or any other official. Why aren't you suing that kid's parents for birthing him and then shipping him off to college 200 miles away when he became to crazy for them to deal with at home? That's a rhetorical question; we all know why: because that Korean or whatever they were, family has no money. This lawsuit disgusts me.

Posted by: 7900rmc | November 23, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Steger and his administration should ABSOLUTELY be held liable for their role in these deaths. They blindly followed the Politically Correct Pied Piper and imposed a fallacious "Gun Free Zone" upon the helpless student and faculty victims of this horrific crime.

What of consequence has changed since that tragic day? Nothing. Only more murders inside imaginary "Gun Free Zones." Cho KNEW he would be shooting helpless fish in a barrel, and that is the direct and exclusive fault of the VT Administration, who imposed rules, which criminals never obey, that prevented anyone from being equipped to stop Cho before he got started.

I honestly don't know how Steger sleeps at night, knowing how his policies enabled the massive scale of this crime.

Learn the truth:

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22gun+free+zone%22+shootings

Posted by: TFred | November 23, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Vt_maverick is absolutely correct. This had NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. Therefore, there was no reasonable expectation that there would be a plan in place to handle this situation. Moreover, you are forgetting that had the campus been locked down, Cho--as a student-- would've been locked down in his dorm. With his guns. Where he likely would have killed more people. It's Cho at fault. Not the VT administration. We have no idea what would have happened had they locked down the campus. The death toll could have been higher.

Posted by: mdhokie1 | November 23, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

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