Virginia Tech's potential liability "is going to turn on what they knew [about Cho or the initial shootings Monday] and when they knew it," said Brent Bryson, a lawyer.
In 2003, John Fishwick, a Roanoke lawyer, won a $350,000 settlement from the state for the family of an inmate killed at Wallens Ridge, a supermax prison.
Fishwick said Thursday that one avenue for a liability suit could be "a civil rights claim for violations for known constitutional rights." He added, "The standard for these claims is a high standard -- deliberate indifference."
Like Bryson, Fishwick said, "The focus in this case would be what the decisionmakers knew and when they knew it, and whether they knew they were violating the known rights of the victims when they made their various decisions."
Fishwick emphasized that it is premature to speculate about what, if any, liability Virginia Tech or law enforcement officials might have.
"I believe it is too early to evaluate the merits of any claims until a full investigation is complete and all the facts are known," he said. "Like everyone else in our area, I feel tremendous sorrow for the Virginia Tech community."
This is an exciting development as we are finally having some of the most important questions addressed; why didn't they act? Was there deliberate indifference on the part of the authorities?
We can only hope this goes ahead and an impartial,non-system planning corp, investigation takes place.