Le GRD ’13 estate to sue Yale

UPDATE: 5:00 p.m. The estate of former pharmacology student Annie Le GRD ’13 has served the University with a wrongful death lawsuit, the Le family lawyer Joseph Tacopina told the News Tuesday in an email.

University Spokesman Tom Conroy said the University plans to “respond to the suit and its claims in the legal arena.”

“Yale believes there is no basis for the civil suit filed on behalf of the estate of Annie Le. Yale had no information indicating that [former lab technician and Le's killer] Raymond Clark was capable of committing this terrible crime, and no reasonable security measures could have prevented his unforeseeable act,” Conroy wrote in a statement. “Annie Le’s murder shocked and deeply saddened the entire Yale community. As a community we united to support and comfort her family and loved ones, and create a lasting memorial to her life. This lawsuit serves neither justice nor Annie’s memory, and the University will defend against it as appropriate.”

The Le family first hired lawyers last summer to privately look into the death. Last September, Brian King, an attorney with the New York-based firm Tacopina Seigel & Turano, P.C., appeared at a routine court hearing for Clark and afterwards spoke with the media outside the courthouse, where he raised questions about the University’s handling of the tragedy.

“Why wasn’t anybody helping her when this was happening?” King said. “Where was anybody? Apparently Yale has police, also have security. What was their role that day in checking for her? So those are the things that we’re looking into right now.”

University General Counsel Dorothy Robinson said then that she had not heard anything about a lawsuit.

Joseph Lopez, one of the public defenders of Raymond Clark III, the man convicted for Le’s murder, made a prescient prediction at the time: That even if King’s firm were to file a lawsuit, it would be after the criminal case had been concluded. Clark was sentenced to 44 years in prison in June.

Check back for continuing coverage.

Comments

  • DCHeretic

    The Le family, and society in general, have experienced a profound loss. I am deeply concerned, however, about any implication that professional adults and academics should have round the clock direct supervision by security as they move about the workplace and interact with their co-workers . The Le murder was a tragedy in every sense of the word. It was also an anomaly. Without mind reading technology, I don’t see how Yale could have prevented the murder. It appears that even Annie did not know that she was in danger.

    Alum, 1995

  • wtf

    I agree with the above. Are we enrolled at a university or day care?

  • howardn

    The building was too small and too remote on the YSM campus. 10 Amistad should never have been built, and was probably the result of limited funding, an overly demanding faculty, and lack of planning foresight. The animal facility in the building was also too small, almost necessitating the isolated one-on-one researcher-C&T situation that led to this tragedy. The nepotism involved in Clark’s hiring is a serious problem within Locals 34 and 35. On top of this, Clark had a juvenile record in Branford involving violence to women that should have been discovered during the hiring process. Yale should settle this action now, stop kow-towing to the unions, and do a much better job of protecting faculty, students and staff, including in its facililty planning/designs and hiring practices.

    • DCHeretic

      Juvenile records are not available to employers and there was no reasonable way that Yale would have known about Clark’s activities as a teen. Juvenile records are usually sealed by law to give juvenile offenders a clean slate as an adult.

      As for “nepotism,” as long as Clark was not under the supervision of a relative, there was nothing wrong or extraordinary about his working in the same facility as a family member. Many employers, both public and private, employ multiple people from the same family.

      • howardn

        Nothing to see here. Multiple family members working in the same unit who facilitate the hiring of more family members into that unit know nothing of an applicant family member’s violent juvenile record, or must keep awfully quiet about it.

    • The_Lorax

      “One-on-one researcher-C&T situation”. Wow. That sounds awfully pejorative. Substitute something more inflammatory and let’s have some riots! Why is there something inherently threatening about being alone with a C&T? Given the historical power imbalance, typically it is the C&Ts who have more to fear from faculty/researchers! The roles people had didn’t create this problem. You can’t make sweeping generalizations about a class of people based on their employment category anymore than you can about race or age. This was a really crappy terrible awful thing that happened to one person by another. The university didn’t make it happen anymore than the city of New Haven or the State of Connecticut. Bad things happen all the time and it sucks. We have the right person to blame. He even did the right thing and admitted guilt. That doesn’t happen too often. We can’t logically go on expanding the circle of blame…or can we? Do you want to go after his parents? The sins of the the son etc.? Where does it stop? Oh, wait…they don’t have any money compared to Yale. Right.

      Unless we’re ready to assign a security officer to each person (Gasp, they’re C&Ts too) I don’t see what the answer is–brand all criminals on the forehead? Chop off a hand? Go medieval and hang his parents for melding their genetic material in some toxic brew of nature and nurture? I know this hurts and is frightening, but if the knee-jerk reaction to every incident (at least those involving educated upper class people, as the crimes against the poor and disenfranchised happen all the time don’t get the same attention) we will be in a police state before you know it. Give up freedom for security and you get neither etc.

    • River_Tam

      You can thank Democrats for arguing that juvenile records should be sealed and not counted against “reformed” offenders.

  • student

    Small consolation, but everyone has to pay the consequences for their actions in some way. Ray will pay with his life. Yale will pay financially. It’s a true travesty, though, that those at Yale who are directly responsible for the cover up of Clark’s behavior before and after the slaying of Annie Le will pay not with their jobs. Namely, Denise Kent (sister) and her husband, Jennifer Hromadka (fiance), and Harold Mendes (boss).

  • observer

    Do you think this lawsuit, and the other one about the student killed when her hair got caught in the lathe, will hurt application numbers for next year? I don’t.

  • The Anti-Yale

    This is what the courts are for. Let the process play out. It is reassuring to see in these posts that the hate of Clark and his relatives has begun to diminish. One poster accurately notes that Clark did the right thing and admitted his guilt; one step better than O.J. Simpson. The hatred was shockingly shrill last year.

    • Yale12

      Clark “did the right thing and admitted his guilt?” Are you serious? After he tried to cover his crimes by stuffing Annie Le’s defiled body upside down in a wall! He admitted his guilt only after he was sure there was no way for him to weasel his way out of a conviction. And don’t forget that he didn’t actually plead guilty to sexually assaulting Le, even though evidence suggests he almost certainly did.

      PK, you’re mostly harmless, but here your ridiculousness borders into the insane and offensive.

  • student

    “One poster accurately notes that Clark did the right thing and admitted his guilt; one step better than O.J. Simpson”

    I agree. Clark certainly did the right thing, didn’t he? He’s such a noble man. We all should aspire to be just like him. Rape and murder every tiny woman that crosses our path, lie about it for more than a year, scar dozens of people for life, and finally, in the end, only admit guilt insomuch as that there may be enough evidence to convict us, but never actually saying we are guilty of such brutality. So noble. I truly commend him.

    It’s sick how much you worship this man, antiyale. Your pretentiousness is most obvious and does naught for the Yale community. It is cruel and deplorable that you come on here and try to ignite those that are in pain over this. Please, I beg of you, leave it be as it is, and stop defending such evil. It is highly disturbing, and does not belong on this particular news outlet. This belongs to the Yale community, so please respect it for what it is, which is a community ridden with grief. Be kind.

    • Yale12

      Well said.

  • WillyLomein

    Cover up a rape in the face of incontrovertible evidence, push for an absurdly lenient plea-bargain to avoid publicity, and continue employing the devoted murder’s girlfriend in the midst of Annie’s friends and colleagues. A lawsuit (may they win) hardly sets this right.

  • The Anti-Yale

    *It’s sick how much you worship this man, antiyale*

    I have not commented about this man at all in the past as far as I recall. I have only spoken about the excessive quality of hatred in the posts reacting to his arrest and indictment.

    *Please, I beg of you, leave it be as it is, and stop defending such evil.*
    This sounds hysterical. I’m not defending evil. I merely commented that in a world where equivocation is the norm it is noteworthy when someone says “I’m guilty” regardless of the legal subtleties.

    *PK, you’re mostly harmless, but here your ridiculousness borders into the insane and offensive.*

    Raymond Clark may be a monster or he may be mentally ill. Sixty years in prison is appropriate for the former. The vitriol in these posts is not appropriate for the latter.

    *This belongs to the Yale community*.

    The Yale community includes alumni and townspeople. This is not an insular matter.

    Paul D. Keane

    M. Div. ’80

    • winteralfs

      Clark effectively got 44 years in prison not 60, and for many people even 60 years would not be enough punishment for the crimes of this monster. And it is not merely legal subtleties to point out that Clark took nearly 2 years to grudgingly admit guilt and even then, he did so with the least commitment possible and only when doing so posed no further risk to himself or his family. He also did not admit guilt to his behavior after the murder, the horrible way he hid and treated her body, the way he played softball with his family on the day of her wedding, and most of all, the refusal to admit to WHY he did what he did, despite Le’s family practically begging for an explanation. He never once put the Le family’s interests ahead of his own, and that includes his sorry excuse for an apology. With these posts you come off as an ivy league underclassman struggling at pseudo-intellectualism, an adolescent desire to play the devils advocate no matter the subject matter, and I can only assume from some of your posts you are in fact much older then that. I suppose this is what trolls with an ivy league address sound like. R.I.P Annie Le, you deserved far better.

  • winteralfs

    Lets imagine for a moment you walk into a Target for some shopping. While shopping, a Target employee who is stocking shelves bumps into you. You apologize, but he persists in arguing with you. The next thing you know, he beats you badly and you are in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. The employee is arrested and fired. He also goes to prison. You decide to bring a civil suit. Do you sue the employee and his family, and do you also sue Target? Of course you sue Target. Ray Clark was an employee of Yale University, and actively on site and working when this attack occurred. Yale is responsible for their employees actions, just like Target, or any other institution would be. Some of the details of this lawsuit do seem frivolous, but it doesn’t mean no parts have merit. Lets wait until all the facts are known. R.I.P. Annie Le.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG2_NI-vZDo
    Chris