Back on September 13, 2009, 24-year old Annie Le, a doctoral student in pharmacology at Yale University, was found stuffed inside of a closet of a building of the University's medical school. Within days of Ms. Le's body being discovered, 24-year old Raymond Clark III, a lab technician who took care of animals for the medical school, was arrested for the murder, and in June of this year Clark was sentenced to 44 years in prison for killing the graduate student.
Fast forward to September 6, 2011, and the executor of Ms. Le's estate, Glorie Romaniello, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Yale University and the School of Medicine, alleging that the school's negligence caused Ms. Le's death. The lawsuit lists eleven grounds for finding the school liable, including failing to properly screen Raymond Clark III before hiring him; failing to promptly investigate Ms. Le's disappearance; failing to provide a "safe and secure environment"; employing improperly trained and inadequate security guards; and "fostering an atmosphere of tolerance of sexual harassment and sexual assaults." With regard to the last count, it appears to be related to an investigation into sexual misconduct violations under Title IX regulations that was opened up in April 2011 by the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights after complaints were filed by several students.
Shortly after the Le lawsuit was filed, a spokesperson for the school, Tom Conroy, stated: "Yale believes there is no basis for the civil suit filed on behalf of the estate of Annie Le." Conroy also said that Yale would "defend against [the suit] as appropriate," and that the suit would do little to secure justice for Ms. Le or preserve her memory.
Meanwhile, Annie Le's mother, Vivian Le, is the only parent who currently supports the lawsuit. Vivian Le is divorced from Annie Le's father, Hoang Le, and while both parents have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, according to Hoang Le: "Once the case was closed [when admitted murderer Raymond Clark III was sentenced in June], I just wanted her to have a peaceful rest. I don't want everything to come back and remind me of her." Nonetheless, Mr. Le has indicated that now that the lawsuit has been filed, he will not do anything to intervene in the case or prevent it from running its course through the court system.
While legal analysts do not believe that the Le suit has any merit, some predict that the school will end up settling with the estate in order to avoid a drawn out court battle.