University statement on decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia
October 31, 2013
These are statements on the decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Attribute to Lawrence Hincker, Associate Vice President for University Relations
The Virginia Supreme Court has spoken. We are also very pleased that the Supreme Court recognized and corrected the errors of the lower court which resulted in a faulty jury verdict. The court reversed an action based on incorrect interpretation of Virginia law. These clearly were important legal principles that had to be and were clarified.
The Supreme Court concluded, “In this case, we hold that even if there was a special relationship between the Commonwealth and students of Virginia Tech, under the facts of the case, there was no duty for the Commonwealth to warn students about the potential for criminal acts by third parties.”
With respect to the facts of the case, the Court said, “Based on the limited information available to the Commonwealth prior to the shootings in Norris Hall, it cannot be said that it was known or reasonably foreseeable that students in Norris Hall would fall victim to criminal harm. Thus, as a matter of law, the Commonwealth did not have a duty to protect students against third party criminal acts.”
While these rulings are favorable to the commonwealth and her employees, they simply clarify the law and, indirectly, shine a light on the underlying cause of the mass tragedy of April 16. The Court’s actions can never reverse the loss of lives nor the pain experienced by so many families and friends of victims of one person. In the end, the cause of these heinous acts and continuing heartbreak was a troubled and angry young man with easy access to powerful killing weapons.
Statement by Charles W. Steger, President, Virginia Tech
“I very much appreciate the wise counsel from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Peter Messitt, Mike Melis, Wes Russell, and all the professionals in the Office of the Virginia Attorney General. Their attention to detail throughout the case - indeed throughout the lengthy fallout from this wrenching tragedy - and their belief in the university’s employees is gratifying and very much appreciated. I will not forget their support and professionalism. Attorney General Cuccinelli was personally engaged, for which I will be forever grateful.”
Attribute to Brian Gottstein, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia
“While words cannot express the tremendous sympathy we have for the families who lost their loved ones in the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007 -- including the Prydes and the Petersons -- the Virginia Supreme Court has found what we have said all along to be true: The commonwealth and its officials at Virginia Tech were not negligent on April 16, 2007. Cho was the lone person responsible for this tragedy.”