Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dumb, dead kid earns parents $500,000

This is a crass headline, but I had to post this story that is all over the news. A Purdue University student electrocuted himself trying to sneak into a dormitory. He found an unlocked door that led to a pitch-black utility room, where he unknowingly touched a high-voltage line. It is a sad story, but the guy should have known better.

His parents then sued, I suppose for negligence, and the state of Indiana will have to fork over half a million bucks to his parents. Guess whose tuition, taxes, etc. will go to pay for this?

Are universities really responsible for essentially criminal behaviors of their students because of a mistakenly unlocked door? Are they to the tune of $500,000? It just seems like a sad commentary on our litigious culture.


Anonymous said...

Uh, yeah. They are responsible. Way responsible.

They created a fairly dangerous situation. 1) The room was unlocked, 2) the room had *no* warning signs on the door through which the student entered, and 3) there were open/unshielded conductors. Walk into that room in the dark - and fumble around a bit for the light switch...

"It is a sad story, but the guy should have known better." How? The poor guy probably thought it was just some door to the basement. (Yeah, the 6 humming HV transformers should have been a tip off, but how many people ever see them as hazards?)

But it doesn't matter what the student was up to - the university through negligence created an unsafe circumstance which resulted in someone's death.

Note that the parents likely would have gotten more, but there are limits in Indiana on how much you can get from a state institution in a wrongful death claim.

Anonymous said...

Since "$100,000 endowment will create the Wade Steffey Memorial Scholarship that will be awarded to students from Indiana who attend Purdue" I wonder if they have an Electrical Engineering program there. There is no way they should be paying this out but . . .