Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against USC Dismissed
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Superior Court judge on Friday dismissed a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the University of Southern Calfornia by the parents of two Chinese graduate students who were slain off campus.
KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports Judge Michael Johnson agreed with university attorneys that the case lacked sufficient legal arguments to move forward.
He said there was no connection between the killings and Internet statements in which USC touts the measures taken to protect students.
“Causation is an insurmountable issue for the plaintiffs,” Johnson said.
Wanzhi Qu and Xiaohong Fei, the father and mother of Ming Qu, and Xiyong Wu and Meinan Yin, parents of Ying Wu, filed the suit May 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Wu and Qu, both 23-year-old electrical engineering students, were shot last April 11 while sitting in Qu’s recently purchased 2003 BMW, which was double-parked off-campus in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue.
Wu was found in the passenger seat and Qu on the steps of a nearby house where he collapsed while trying to summon help, Los Angeles police said.
Attorney Burt Newman said his clients were willing to drop legal action if USC would remove online statements claiming the campus is safe.
“It’s really about the lives of overseas Chinese rather than compensation for these two students,” Newman said.
But USC attorney Deborah Wong Yang said the judge did not see any connection between the website language and the murders of Wu and Qu.
“The statement actually is true, and therefore, there is no falsity,” said Yang. “That’s probably why he threw the lawsuit out.”
Court papers filed by USC state that the parents’ lawyers never presented any evidence showing the school is responsible for off- campus crimes committed by people with no connection to the university.
“Boiled down to its core elements, (the) complaint is nothing more than an attempt to try to hold USC financially responsible for damages inflicted on its students by the criminal behavior of third parties unrelated to USC,” the defense court papers stated.
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