Wrongful death suit on UAH shootings pending

Families of two University of Alabama in Huntsville professors who were killed in the 2010 campus shootings are awaiting a judge's decision regarding their case. A Madison County judge has a motion to dismiss in front of her in the wrongful death case. The defendant is the individual who was the provost at the time of the shootings.

The attack occurred on Feb. 12, 2010. The female assailant pleaded guilty to capital murder in the incident that claimed the lives of three biology professors and injured three other individuals during a planning meeting. Court documents indicate that the provost knew that the future assailant threatened to commit suicide, and they were concerned that she threatened to confront the former president and the provost in their administrative offices after she was denied tenure on Nov. 12, 2009. The lawsuits claims that the University of Alabama in Huntsville police were placed by the offices to protect the two individuals. The victims' families argued that it was foreseeable that the woman was an actual threat. Additionally, the families argued that the attack occurred at a meeting where individuals were present who had taken part in the tenure vote and not in a classroom.

The defendant responded that the woman had attended other events since the vote and was believed to have been moving on to another position. The defendant's attorney pointed out reasons that the plaintiffs had not met their burden of proof in the wrongful death case, including that a friend did not believe that the woman would kill herself or others due to the tenure vote.

If the families can show that the provost knew or should have known about a threat, the family may be able to recover compensation for the loss of their loved ones. Damages may include lost earnings, lost benefits and loss of companionship.

Source: AL.com, "After arguments in court, wrongful death case related to Amy Bishop shootings awaits judge's ruling", Paul Gattis, December 12, 2013

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