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Legislation and Litigation  

Author:  Ken  Kozlowski, J.D..

Source: Volume 16, Number 02, Winter 2015 , pp.33-35(3)

Campus Safety & Student Development

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The infamous Virginia Tech shootings continue to be a source of litigation as courts are asked to determine responsibility and liability for the events that took place in April 2007 on the Blacksburg campus. In a recent and important decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia, the justices ruled that the Commonwealth had no legal duty to issue a campus-wide warning to students when the first deaths were discovered, overturning jury verdicts that had decided several wrongful death cases in plaintiffs’ favor. The ruling in Commonwealth v. Peterson is an important one for university officials nationwide: it held that it was neither known to Virginia Tech officials, nor reasonably foreseeable, that students faced a risk of injury or death, based on the first encounters police had on the morning of April 16. Also covered in this roundup of decisions is an Indiana Supreme Court ruling that the national fraternity Delta Tau Delta had no liability in the hazing and alcohol-related death of a college freshman at one of its local chapters.

Keywords: Commonwealth v. Peterson; Smith v. Delta Tau Delta, Inc.

Affiliations:  1: Supreme Court of Ohio Law Library.

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