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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ind. Courts - "Missing IU student Lauren Spierer’s parents sue three men; claim actions led to her death" [Updated]

That is the headline to this long story today in the Bloomington Herald-Times, reported by Abby Tonsing and Laura Lane. Some quotes:

Three men who were with Indiana University student Lauren Spierer the night she went missing two years ago encouraged her to drink heavily and then abandoned her, resulting in her disappearance and likely death, a federal lawsuit filed by her parents claims.

Robert and Charlene Spierer say Corey Rossman, Jason “Jay” Rosenbaum and Michael Beth supplied alcohol to their intoxicated and incapacitated 20-year-old daughter and failed to care for her.

The lawsuit seeks to find answers for the Spierers, who desperately want to know what happened to their daughter and who is responsible for her “disappearance, injury and death.” It also seeks unspecified monetary compensation for damage to them from the loss of their daughter, and asks a jury to find the men guilty of negligent acts that resulted in Spierer’s death.

It was filed four days before the two-year anniversary of the student’s disappearance. Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations for civil filings in cases involving injury or wrongful death.

“Rob and Charlene Spierer authorized the filing of this lawsuit with great reluctance and only after we counseled them that they would lose certain legal rights if not exercised by the two-year anniversary of Lauren’s disappearance,” their attorney, Jason Barclay, said in a written statement Wednesday. “We hope no one will misinterpret this action. Any parent in search of information about a missing child would use every resource available to them. Therefore, we intend to use the rights afforded by the civil justice system to obtain answers to questions that have gone unanswered for too long. We fully expect that those with relevant information will cooperate with this process.”

Through the legal process called discovery, the defendants would be subject to answering questions, under oath, posed by the Spierers’ lawyer during the deposition phase before a trial. On June 20, the lawsuit was transferred from Monroe Circuit Court to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The case has been assigned to Judge Tim A. Baker.

The transfer, requested by the defendants, was allowed because the parties to the lawsuit reside in different states and because the potential for damages exceeds $75,000. Rossman, who is enrolled for the fall semester at IU, lives in Sharon, Mass. Rosenbaum graduated in May 2012 with a SPEA degree and lives in West Bloomfield, Mich. Beth, a May 2012 IU graduate with a telecommunications degree, lives in Morganville, N.J.

The Indianapolis Star also has a long story today, written by Alex Campbell. It links to the complaint filed in Monroe County. The plaintiffs' attorneys are Barnes & Thornburg's Larry Mackey, Jason Barclay, and Jeanine Kerridge.

The case was removed to federal court by this motion of the defendants' attorneys, listed as Greg Garrison, James Voyles, and Carl Salzmann.

Here are earlier ILB entries earlier ILB entries mentioning Lauren Spier.

[Updated at 12:11PM] The copy of the complaint filed in Monroe County that the ILB linked is not file stamped. But Ch. 6 News just flashed a shot of a copy that looked to be stamped "filed May 31, 2013". Looking online at the state's CCS for 53C01-1305-CT-001048, one finds that the case was "opened" 5/31/2013 and the complaint was filed 6/3/2013. Notice of removal was filed 6/21/2013. Looking back in the H-T archive, this story from July 16, 2011 notes: "Twenty-year-old Spierer was reportedly last seen about 4:30 a.m. Friday, June 3, at the intersection of 11th Street and College Avenue, headed south."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 27, 2013 06:58 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts