Judge dismisses wrongful death case
Posted February 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm in News
A wrongful death lawsuit, filedÂ against the university by the parents of two USC graduate students who were shot off campus last year, was dropped Friday by a Los Angeles judge. The lawsuit was filed in May.
The parents filed the suit seeking unspecified damages and claiming that USC misled them into believing that the school was one of the safest in the nation. USC gave their sympathies but said the case was baseless, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson dismissed the case by citing insufficient legal arguments.
Alan Burton Newman, the attorney for the parents of Qu and Wu, said he plans to appeal the decision, claiming that if it were not for the misrepresentations, the engineer students would have studied elsewhere.
Ming Qu and Ying Wu, 23-year-old electronic engineering students, were shot and killed off-campus April 11, 2012 while sitting in Quâs BMW around 1 a.m. They were near the intersection of 27th Street and Raymond Avenue.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the two were found dead after an apparent robbery that turned deadly; Wu was found in the passenger seat and Qu stumbled to a nearby residence.
Wanzhi Qu and Xiahong Fei, Quâs parents, and Xuyong Wu and Meinan Yin, Wuâs parents, argued that the university is responsible for areas beyond the campus. The suit alleged that USC âprovided no patrollingâ in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred and persisted with a âclearly misleadingâ portrayal of safety after the incident.
But the parents did not have evidence of the universityâs responsibility for off-campus crimes committed by people not affiliated with USC. The judge said that even if USC misrepresented the safety of the surrounding area, these misrepresentations did not directly lead to the shooting.
The lawsuit alleged that USC claimed on its website to be âranked among the safest of U.S. universities and colleges, with one of the most comprehensive, proactive campus and community safety programs in the nation.â The suit also stated that USC provides 24-hour security on campus and in the surrounding area.
USC attorney Debra Wong Yang told the Times the university security can only stretch so far. She said the incident occurred in the third tier of security, where officers respond to incidents but do not patrol.
The neighborhood where the incident occurred ranks 27th out of 209 L.A. neighborhoods for violent crime, according to a Times analysis of crime data.
Bryan Barnes and Javier Boldon, both 20-years-old and from South Los Angeles, were charged with the killings and robbery.
Yang could not be reached for statement.