Defendants Seek Dismissal of Wrongful Death Suit

Attorneys for the three men who spent time with the Indiana University student, Lauren Spierer, the night she went missing in 2011 have asked a federal judge to dismiss a negligence lawsuit filed by her parents last month.

The lawsuit alleges that Rossman, Rosenbaum and Beth, the three men who were with Spierer on the night she went missing owed her a “duty of care.” They were all aware that she was “extremely intoxicated to the point of incapacitation,” the suit says, and didn’t do enough to make sure she made it home safely.

Since Spierer’s disappearance in June 2011, her parents have repeatedly said that those who were with their daughter that night, have not been forthcoming about what they know.

Spierer was noticeably intoxicated and she was seen at several spots during the night. At 4:30 a.m., she was spotted walking toward the corner of 11th Street and College Avenue. She was never seen again.

The lawsuit says that Mr. Beth noticed that Spierer was intoxicated and tried to persuade her to sleep on his couch. It states further that Rosenbaum, “expressing concern about Spierer’s well-being and safety,” tried to get some mutual friends to pick her up and take her home.

But when that didn’t happen, the suit alleges, Rosenbaum acknowledged that he let her leave and saw her walk away. He was the last known person to see her alive.

An exhaustive search through forests, lakes and abandoned buildings took place. “America’s Most Wanted” featured her story on national television.

Spierer’s parents filed their lawsuit in June against Rossman, Jay Rosenbaum and Mike Beth who witnessed the 20 year-old’s decline during a night of partying. They were the last three people known to have seen her before, Rosenbaum said, he let her walk out his door about 4:30 a.m. on June 3, 2011, barefoot, with a bruised face, and unsteady after consuming alcohol and drugs.

The parents claim that Rossman and Rosenbaum provided her alcohol even after it was clear that she was drunk and that negligence of the three men resulted in her disappearance, injury and presumed death.

In the lawsuit it was said that, “Indiana law does not recognize a duty to control or otherwise supervise an intoxicated person.”

The eight-page lawsuit, brought initially in Monroe County but moved at the defendant’s request to federal court, seeks monetary damages against Rossman and Rosenbaum under Indiana’s “dram shop” law. According to the law, for the defendant’s to be liable, they had to have “actual knowledge” that Lauren Spierer was “visibly intoxicated” at the time and her intoxication had to be related to whatever happened to her.

The parents hope the lawsuit will force the three men to answer questions through sworn depositions and testimony.

Previously, the Spierer’s questioned whether their daughter left Rosenbaum’s apartment alive and have accused the students of withholding information, calling on them to take lie detector tests.

The motions filed Thursday for two of the men seek dismissal of the lawsuit, which his pending in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, stress two legal points:  The men, Beth, Rossman and Rosenbaum, had no legal duty to supervise Spierer, or ensure her safety.

The motion argues that Beth owed “no duty” to Spierer, saying he “observed Spierer in an intoxicated state” and witnessed Rossman encourage Spierer to join him at a bar. Beth later returned to his residence, which he shared with Rossman, to find the pair together. The motion said Beth became concerned with Spierer’s safety and tried to get her to sleep on a couch. After she refused, he escorted her to the Rosenbaum’s residence and left her there with him.

Rosenbaum was the last person to see Spierer.

The motion also argues that the Spierer family “cannot prove that Spierer was injured or killed.” The motion cites Indiana law, which says a person can’t be presumed dead unless they’ve been “inexplicably absent for a continuous period of 7 years.” The filing argues that Spierer’s case does not meet that standard, as she disappeared in June 2011.

Although the lawsuit was “filed with great reluctance,” according to her parents, they were advised that they would lose certain legal rights if they didn’t file anything within two years of Spierer’s disappearance.

Recently Rob Spierer, Lauren’s father, told The Westchester County JournalNews, “We still believe that she many not have left Corey and Mike’s or Jay’s apartment.”

“I don’t want my name in the news,” Rossman told The Indianapolis Star for a story about the two-year anniversary of the disappearance. “I need to be as far away from this as possible. I’m trying to start my career.”

Spierer’s disappearance still remains under investigation, Bloomington police spokesman Capt. Joe Qualters recently told The Star.  “There’s only so many ways you can say we continue to investigate.”

Meanwhile, the three men have said little and Bloomington police never filed charges against anyone in the case.

No doubt the defendant’s do not want their name in the news.  The family of Lauren Spierer would rather not have their name in the news, either. Do you think the defendants in this case should be required to undergo polygraph testing? Feel free to comment on this blog post.  You can reach one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

Related Posts