Misguided Defense

 In Blog

This week, there was a hefty civil settlement awarded to a female employee of a college. The female employee sued the school for failing to protect her from a security officer who repeatedly sexually harassed her and, in what sounds like one of the scariest things I’ve heard lately, aimed an unloaded gun at her head and slowly pulled the trigger. An awful situation and one where the officer in question should (and was) dismissed from his duties.

Now, the oddity of this situation is this: the college is a public institution. As a public institution, it is funded by the tax dollars of you and I. So, during the trial, the college’s representative pled to the court NOT to award the settlement because it’d drive up the cost for taxpayers. Beg pardon? Uh, can we discuss the issue at hand?

This is one of the major factors in why the settlement was reached. And, when the college made such a stupid move, they deserve to be punished financially.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves: not focusing on the issue at hand. If an individual smokes in bed and the house catches fire, that individual does NOT have the right to complain that the landlord should have had a sprinkler system installed. Unfortunately, we see this all too often. Don’t be that guy…or that college!


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  • Amy C.

    This wasn’t a settlement it was a jury verdict. The college argued against such a large punitive damages award because it doesn’t serve its purpose in this case. The sole purpose of punitive damages is to punish bad actions and deter similar future conduct. It doesn’t further that goal to impose them on a publicly funded institution, since the state and the taxpayers will be footing the bill, yet they are not the bad actors. Seems like a good argument to me. The jury was probably motivated by desire to reward a sympathetic plaintiff.

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