Jurors deliberated for 3 1/2 hours and returned verdicts against Virginia Tech in the amounts of 4 million for the family of Erin Peterson and 4 million for the family of Julia Pryde.
You probably have seen the verdict in the news. This was about responsibility and not money. Previously, 100K had already been offered to each of the families. Under Virginia law, the University can only be responsible to pay 100K.
Other families had settled the claims for the maximum payment of 100K. What these two families wanted was to hear Virginia Tech say that they had some responsibility, by not taking action. Instead, the University had maintained that it had done everything properly. In fact, University President Charles W. Steger had testified that “we did everything we could do.”.
The trial testimony showed that campus police believed that the shooter was a jealous boyfriend. So, Virginia Tech made the administrative decision not to issue any kind of warning for more than 2 1/2 hours. President Steger testified that he delayed in sending a warning to avoid panic to the campus, and to also allow the university to notify the families of those initially shot.
These two families spent money on the cost to pursue these claims. The jury was not told that the recovery would be reduced to 100K. Now, these verdicts do send a message to Virginia Tech. It’s too bad that these two families had to go through this trial to get this finding. Pilot Online captioned the article, “Jury Finds Va. Tech responsible in 2 students’ deaths”.
There will be different reactions to this verdict. The very first comment on PilotOnline.com was “Does this mean, I, the taxpayer, have to pay this sum?” The next discussed how the students should have some responsibility and how the poster of the comment would have done more. Very personalized reactions.
After posting this blog, I just didn’t feel that I should post a pic o’ for today. No one is a winner in this verdict.