Fix Features

lawsuit

Police thought she was an underage girl buying booze. But it was only bottled water. After three felony charges and a long night in jail, one student was left traumatized. The College Fix first reported this story last July:

A University of Virginia student was arrested after she fled from state alcoholic beverage control officers–with a bottle of water in her hands.

The raid was intended to crack down on suspected alcohol possession by underage youth. But the “raid” ended up looking like a case of embarrassing overreaction by authorities.

According to a news report of the incident, Elizabeth Daly, 20, bought “a carton of water, cookie dough and ice cream,” and then attempted to exit the Charlottesville store.

That’s when things started to get crazy.

A state beverage control officer–dressed in plain clothes, mind you, not in a uniform that would allow the young lady to easily identify him–approached Daly because the officer thought she was carrying a case of beer.

Apparently, being confronted by this unknown stranger, who was not in uniform and who was demanding to see what she had purchased, spooked the young lady. She told a reporter she and her friends were “terrified” by the sudden confrontation. Well, that’s understandable. Unfortunately, she fled in her car and in the process “struck” two government agents.

Quicker than you can say the words “bottled water,” she was booked on felony charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer and eluding police…

Now Ms. Daly is suing for big bucks, according to The New York Daily News:

Daly said she had been terrified when strangers surrounded her car and began pounding on the windows. She couldn’t roll down a window without starting the car, and when she did, one agent jumped on the hood and another pulled a gun, she has said repeatedly since the incident…

Daly called 911 in a panic and eventually surrendered after the dispatcher confirmed that them men swarming her car and attempting to break the windshield were, indeed, officers of the law. They booked her on multiple felony counts and made her spend the night in jail.

“The agents acted with actual malice, out of embarrassment and disgrace … and charged (Daly) with three felonies and did so out of anger and personal spite,” the suit claims.

Sounds like a bunch of vengeful police taking out their frustration on a understandably frightened young co-ed. Still, $40 million sounds a bit excessive.

I guess Ms. Daly is lucky that the officers didn’t shoot her.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

(Image: DonkeyHotey.Flickr)

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The Yale Daily News reports an unusual development in the lawsuit surrounding the 2011 tailgating accident at the Harvard-Yale football game, which resulted in two serious injuries and one death, after a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity lost control of a U-Haul truck and struck three female pedestrians.

Thirty-year-old Nancy Barry, of Salem, Mass., was killed in November 2011 when a U-Haul truck driven by Brendan Ross ’13 — heading toward the tailgate area assigned to the fraternity at the Yale Bowl — accelerated and swerved out of control. Sarah Short SOM ’13 and Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach were also injured.

Last month, Short and Barry’s estate filed new suits, identical but separate, individually naming all the students who were members of the Yale chapter of the fraternity at the time of the crash, regardless of whether or not they were present at the tailgate. With Short’s medical expenses exceeding $300,000, Short’s attorney Joel Faxon said he expects a jury to award a sum to Short reaching into seven figures. Paul Edwards, who represents Barry’s estate, said he is looking to recover several million dollars over the death.

The new lawsuit, filed in Connecticut Superior Court in New Haven, is a result of a unique relationship between the national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and the local Yale chapter.

According to Faxon, although Short initially sued the national Sig Ep fraternity in 2012, National Sigma Phi Epsilon Director of Risk Management Kathy Johnston said in a deposition that, legally, the local chapter and national association have nothing to do with each other. Furthermore, the national fraternity’s insurance — Liberty Mutual of Boston — does not cover actions by the local chapter, leading Short to sue the local chapter itself.

“[The national fraternity and its insurance], to try to save money, are trying to distance themselves from the case,” Faxon said. “[The local chapter] has been thrown under the bus … by the national fraternity, so the only remedy that our client has is to sue the local fraternity.”

Faxon said that in his 20 years of litigation, he has never seen such an arrangement, as national fraternities typically come to the aid of their local chapters. Because of Connecticut law, which defines the chapter as a voluntary association, the chapter can only be sued by way of its individual members…

To attempt to hold liable individual members of the fraternity who were not even present at the tailgate seems a stretch, legally and morally speaking.

We will continue to report the latest as this case develops.

Full story here.

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Libertarian Students Sue University of Michigan for Political Discrimination

A libertarian student group at the University of Michigan has filed a lawsuit against the school, arguing campus leaders violated the club’s First Amendment rights and engaged in viewpoint discrimination by refusing to reimburse the group’s costs for hosting a guest speaker critical of affirmative action.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 20 on behalf of Young Americans for Liberty, goes on to allege that even as members of the university’s student government denied funding to libertarian students for their event, campus leaders used mandatory student fees to fund pro-affirmative action efforts.

University of Michigan officials declined to comment to The College Fix about the lawsuit, saying they are evaluating its allegations.

Young Americans for Liberty sought reimbursement for the cost of an affirmative action lecture by Jennifer Gratz. The university’s student government denied the request because it deemed the speech to be “political,” the lawsuit states. However, the student government – using mandatory student fees – funds political events all the time, and cannot pick and choose what it will allow, the lawsuit contends.

Gratz is a prominent opponent of affirmative action in Michigan and nationally who helped pass the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative in 2006, a state law that ostensibly rendered the college’s affirmative action policy unconstitutional.

Gratz spoke Oct. 22 at the campus in a talk titled “Diversity in Race v. Diversity in Ideas: The Michigan Affirmative Action Debate.” The lecture took place just days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

A week before Young Americans for Liberty hosted Gratz, members of another campus group traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate its pro-affirmative action political message on the steps of the United States Supreme Court during the Schuette hearing, the lawsuit alleges.

The student government agreed to help fund that lobbying trip, but denied Young Americans for Liberty the $1,000 reimbursement it sought for Gratz’s speech.

“The university gave funding to the liberal group, but then turned around and denied that very same funding to YAL, a libertarian group,” said David Hacker, senior legal counsel with the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the libertarian students, in an interview with The College Fix.

“Despite the university’s policy against funding political and religious activities of student organizations, (campus leaders) have provided funding  … for political and religious activities,” the lawsuit states. “For example, the (student government) has funded … Amnesty International, Migrant and Immigrant Rights Advocacy, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (among many others).”

This demonstrates that campus leaders regularly favor some student groups over others based on the content and viewpoint of the groups, the suit contends.

In a statement to the Michigan Daily campus newspaper, a spokeswoman for a pro-affirmative action student group on campus said her organization has been denied funding “plenty of times” in the past.

“We reject any claim that white or conservative student groups are being discriminated against and minority student groups are being favored in the way these funding decisions are being made,” she stated.

College Fix contributor Christopher White is a University of Missouri graduate student and an editorial assistant for The College Fix.

IMAGE: Donkey Hotey/Flickr

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Former Fix assistant editor Robby Soave of The Daily Caller reports on a new lawsuit filed by libertarian students against the University of Michigan:

A libertarian student club is suing the University of Michigan for political discrimination stemming from a decision made by UM officials to deny funding to the group.

A university funding commission refused to fund UM’s chapter of the Young Americans for Liberty on the grounds that the group was engaged in “political” activity–despite giving money to left-leaning political groups, such as the NAACP and Immigrant Rights Advocacy.

In October, YAL hosted a guest lecture by anti-affirmative action activist Jennifer Gratz. The event, which was covered by The Daily Caller, drew a crowd of left-wing hecklers.

Later, YAL organizers petitioned the university to contribute $1,000 toward the cost of the event. UM collects mandatory fees from students, and allocates the money–about $300,000 each year–to various student groups for the express purpose of hosting events and bringing speakers to campus.

But YAL’s request was denied by the Student Organization Funding Commission on the grounds that it hosted a “political” event, making it ineligible for funding under UM policy, which forbids that the money go to political or religious causes.

By collecting mandatory fees from students and then refusing to fund these students’ events, the university is violating the First Amendment to the Constitution, the lawsuit alleges

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This story seems like parody at first glance, but it’s actually a true story.

The Daily Caller reports that the American Association of University Professors, an academic labor union, has filed a labor complaint against Cleveland-Marshall University after the university gave several faculty members a raise of $666.

A memo [was] authored by one of the eight [union] activist faculty members. The memo calls the dreaded number 666 “a universally understood symbol of the Antichrist or Devil — one of our culture’s most violent religious images.”

“Implicitly, but unmistakably and obviously intentionally,” Boise “used his powers to set faculty salaries as an occasion to brand his perceived opponents as the Antichrist,” the unidentified instructor wrote.

The memo was distributed to all of Cleveland-Marshall’s professors…

Read more at The Daily Caller.

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Did you know that the Joe Paterno family is suing the NCAA in order to get the sanctions against the football team revoked? Sanctions that resulted from the horrific Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case?

It’s really unbelievable. Kids were abused, lives were forever damaged, and all these people care about his how hard it might be for Penn State to win football games this year.

ESPN reports:

The NCAA asked a Pennsylvania court Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the family of the late coach Joe Paterno that seeks to overturn the sanctions against Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Some trustees, former players and coaches and current faculty members are also taking part in the same lawsuit, which the NCAA said was flawed and contained “various significant legal deficiencies.”

I can’t believe the tone-deafness of the Paterno family and their allies in this idiotic lawsuit. Do they actually believe that football is more important than the lives and well-being of innocent kids? How could they possibly have the nerve to sue the NCAA?

Enough! I say.

The deceased Joe Paterno was a caring and decent person by most accounts. But this project of legacy redemption by his family is doing nothing but reinforcing the worst aspects of Penn State culture that were originally brought to light by this scandal. Specifically, it was a culture that put football and the reputation of Penn State ahead of everything else–even ahead of the safety of little kids. According to the official investigation conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh, there was a cover-up.

Joe Paterno did not do all that he should have done to stop Jerry Sandusky from using Penn State to access kids. That’s a fact. He and other senior administrators–all the way up to ousted president Graham Spainer–were responsible for allowing that ongoing abuse to take place on Penn State property. They knew Sandusky’s history and they knew about the eye-witness allegations. Still, they allowed him to freely access kids on Penn State property for years. A few temporary recruitment sanctions against Penn State’s football team seems like mild penalty.

I’d like to know when all of these Penn State/Paterno partisans will have the decency and tact to just shut up, take their penalties, and let this disgraceful chapter in the school’s history finally die away. Neither Joe Paterno, nor the fans or coaches or players or staff were the victims of this scandal. It was the many boys who were abused year-after-year who were the victims–let’s not forget that. Many of them became victims, in part, because those in authority at the university turned a blind eye or did the bare minimum at best to protect the kids from a known predator.

Now they want the penalties against the university to be revoked? It’s utterly shameless. Speaking for myself, I couldn’t care less if they never played another game.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Like The College Fix on Facebook.  / Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

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