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.