Court Voids Wrongful Death Verdict in Va. Tech Case

Justices say state couldn't have predicted mass shooting
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2013 1:10 PM CDT
Court Voids Wrongful Death Verdict in Va. Tech Case
Virginia Tech students walk past Norris Hall, the site of the 2007 massacre, April 16 2012, in Blacksburg, Va.   (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)

Virginia's Supreme Court today reversed a jury's wrongful death verdict against the state stemming from the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting massacre, saying that the state had no duty to warn students of the potential acts of the case's lone gunman, who initially shot two in a dormitory. Hours later, he killed 30 more people, then himself. Parents of the victims had sued the state, saying the university should have sounded the alarm, while the state argued that police had believed the killings came out of an isolated domestic dispute, and that the campus was not at risk.

Jurors sided with the plaintiffs, awarding them $4 million each. But a judge later capped that at $100,000 each, and today a judge dismissed the verdict entirely. "It cannot be said that it was known or reasonably foreseeable that students in Norris Hall would fall victim to criminal harm," the justices wrote. A spokesman for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said that, while the state sympathized with the families, the ruling affirmed that the shooter "was the lone person responsible for this tragedy." (More Virginia Tech shootings stories.)

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